Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Trio in B-Flat Major, Op. 99 (D.898) [40:56]
Adagio e Rondo Concertante in F Major, Quartetto (D.478) [13:38]
Notturno in E-Flat Major, Op. 148 (D.897) [8:50]
Trio in E-Flat Major, Op. 100 (D.929) [52:08]
Sonata in B-Flat Major (D.28) [11:11]
The Atlantis Trio (Jaap Schröder (violin); Enid Sutherland (cello); Penelope Crawford, (fortepiano)); David Cerutti (viola) (Adagio e Rondo Concertante)
rec. October 1994, April 1995, Christ Church, Cranbrook, MI. USA
MUSICA OMNIA MO 0310 [64:28 + 63:22]
While Schubert only composed the two piano trios in this set, they are certainly among the finest masterpieces of 19th-century chamber music. Long four-movement works - the first is nearly 41 minutes here, and the second over 52 minutes - they show Schubert at his most inventive, and most melodic. The long finale of the Op. 100 piano trio is one of the finest chamber music movements I know, and contains one of Schubert’s most haunting melodies.
This set, on original instruments, brings out the intricate interplay between the violin and cello, and the fortepiano is ideally balanced with the two string instruments. Both the playing and recording here are exemplary. The Atlantis Trio is what improvisational musicians would call “tight”; their playing fits together perfectly, and you can hear the music come alive from three musicians who clearly enjoy what they are playing. This music is dynamic at times, grave at others, but always vibrant and full of vigour.
To fill out this two-disc set, three shorter works are included. The Adagio e Rondo Concertante in F Major is a quartet, with an additional viola; the Notturno in E-Flat Major is a single movement for trio that may originally have been composed for the Op. 99 trio; and the Sonata in B-Flat Major is a single movement of an unfinished youthful work. While the latter is clearly inferior to the two great trios, it is interesting to hear.
This double is a re-mastering of an item released some years ago. The sound is crystal-clear, offering a fine dynamic range, admirable balance among the instruments, delicious texture and a vibrant soundscape.
These piano trios are among the staples of chamber music, and this set - part of a continuing series featuring piano trios by Mendelssohn, Beethoven and Schumann - on original instruments is excellent, both for its performance and for its sound.
Kirk McElhearn  

A wonderful recording of Schubert’s great chamber music works