Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Piano Trio No. 1 in B flat, D898 [41:23]
Piano Trio No. 2 in E flat, D929 [51:50]
Arpeggione Sonata in A minor D. 821 [23:47]
András Schiff (piano), Yuuko Shiokawa (violin), Miklós Perényi (cello)
rec. 1991, Schloss Erb, Austria.
Picture: NTSC/4:3; Sound: PCM stereo; Region: 0 (worldwide)
EUROARTS DVD 2066798 [118:00]  

If you were to dismiss this DVD because of its less-than-stellar video quality, you’d be missing out on some fine music and excellent sound. The video in this 1991 recording is a bit rough around the edges, but the audio and the musicmaking are as good as one can hope for.
András Schiff, Yuuko Shiokawa and Miklós Perényi lovingly present these three works for piano trio. The playing is moving and melancholic at times, and lively and boisterous at others. The third movement of Piano Trio No. 1, that slow, languid melody at the heart of this work, is splendidly performed, and the balance between the instruments is ideal. The more lively opening movement of Piano Trio No. 2 has plenty of energy. The slower second movement of the same work, with that unforgettable cello melody opening over the piano - well known from the film Barry Lyndon - is performed with great subtlety.
The timings of the piano trios are on the long side, with the second trio running to nearly 52 minutes. I find the tempi to be ideal, as the musicians seem to have found just the right balance of energy and speed.
The Arpeggione Sonata is performed here in a version for cello and piano. The musicians in this case play without scores unlike for the piano trios. Again, the balance of the instruments is ideal, and Miklós Perényi gets an occasion to stand out with his admirable cello playing.
The filming took place in a small room with the three musicians seated very close together. The piano is in the rear and the violin and cello to the front. The sound is very good, with a near perfect balance among the three members of the trio. Visually, the small space where this was filmed allows for little variety in camera angles, but the music is so vividly performed that this actually works quite well. There is none of the distraction associated with excessive cuts and angles so the viewer and listener can focus on the music.
These musicians recorded these works for Teldec on a 2-CD set released in 1998. That set is, unfortunately, out of print. After watching this DVD, I would very much like to get their recording as this is one of the better versions of these works that I have heard.
This is a delightful performance of some of Schubert’s best chamber music. While the video quality is not perfect, it’s easy to forget this as you are carried away by the wonderful music.
Kirk McElhearn 

Great music and excellent performances.