Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Piano Trio in B flat D 28 (1812?) [11:14]
Piano Trio No. 1 in B flat D 898 (1827) [43:46]
Piano Trio No. 2 in E flat D 929 (1827) [55:32]
Adagio in E flat Notturno D 897 (1825) [8:18]
Trio Jean Paul (Eckhart Heiligers (piano); Ulf Schneider (violin); Martin Löhr (cello))
rec. Cologne Radio, January & June 2011
C-AVI MUSIC 8553236 [55:00 + 63:50]
This new release faces very stiff competition. The fact that these performances music have been broadcast suggests that a welcome spontaneity rather than a studio patch-up.
Listening to the lovely Adagio in E flat major Notturno which ends the second CD, one is immediately struck by the difference in the timings between the praised Beaux Arts Trio’s 1996 Philips recording (12:58) and this one (8:18). Although Trio Jean Paul achieve a nice balance between the sombre and the playful, and the effect is lyrical enough, the pizzicato passages sound weak and the repeats seem to have been omitted. The other short work opening CD 1 - the D28, B flat major Trio - is delightful, well-structured and resolute. It was composed when Schubert was only 15 years old but clearly shows great promise. The Trio Jean Paul delight in its lightly teasing musicality.
The two epic Trios - D 898 and D 929 - were composed some 15 years later and close to the end of Schubert’s life. There is joy and affirmation of life in this music but there is, too, a foretaste of the ending of things. The Trio Jean Paul realise the essence of these feelings in performances that are warm and humane. The gorgeous slow movements are nicely wrought. The players are sensitive to the music and to ensemble. These interpretations are finely nuanced. The beauty of the slow movements is lovingly realised. Pianist, Eckhart Heiligers, is especially telling in terms of technique and musical conversation.
This recording faces tremendous competition with many reissues at bargain price. My own allegiance remains with the heartfelt and insightful readings of the Beaux Arts Trio.
Grace Lace 

A nice balance between the sombre and the playful but pizzicatos sound weak and the repeats are omitted.