Piano Trio No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 100, D929 (1827)
Violin Sonata (Sonatina) in A minor, Op. 137/2, D385 (1816)
Beethoven-Trio (Amadeus Webersinke (piano); Manfred Scherzer (violin);
Karl-Heinz Schroter (cello))
rec. 15-17 December 1971, 10-14 January 1972, 2-3 March 1972, Lukaskirche,
BERLIN CLASSICS ETERNA EDITION 0300376BC [62:20]
This CD with two Schubert chamber works is one of a series
of recordings from Berlin Classics. They are reissuing recordings
from the former DDR (East German) owned label Eterna. There
are 30 CDs featuring a number of conductors that were active
on the Soviet side of the Iron Curtain and even today are still
little known: Franz Konwitschny, Heinz Rögner, Otmar Suitner
and Max Pommer. Both Schubert works are in ADD sound that is
clear and well balanced. A nice touch is the cover design taken
from the original Eterna LP sleeve. The downside is that the
booklet notes are entirely in German.
The first work is Schubert’s late great Piano Trio
No. 2. Despite its later catalogue number this was probably
written before the B flat major Trio, D898. Schubert
included it in a successful March 1828 concert that showcased
his works at the Musikverein in Vienna. He must have regarded
the score highly as it was the only one to be published - H.
A. Probst, Leipzig - outside Austria during his lifetime. It
was also the only chamber score of his to be published during
In the substantial opening Allegro the Beethoven-Trio
is elegant yet vibrant with fine touches of subtle refinement.
The dramatic writing in the Andante elicits robust and
forthright playing. There is a distinct sense of the disconsolate
in the march passages. The Scherzo is alive with the
spirit of the dance - uplifting, inventive and thrusting. Marked
Allegro moderato the longest movement is the expansive
rondo Finale. The robustly high-spirited playing is full
of dazzling colour and the Coda is lyrically imposing.
I have amassed a large number of accounts of the Piano Trio
No. 2.I strongly commend three of them, all forming
part of double sets. The evergreen accounts from the late 1960s
by the magnificent Beaux Arts Trio of D898 and D929 are expressive
yet highly cultured. So beautifully played and recorded these
performances have stood the test of time and should be staples
of any serious Schubert collection. Including the two string
trios played by the Grumiaux Trio this well filled digitally
re-mastered set is on Philips Classics 438 700-2 (c/w Beaux
Arts: Piano Trio No.2, D898; Sonatensatz, D.28;
Notturno, D897. Grumiaux Trio: String Trio, D581;
String Trio, D471).
Of the more recent digital offerings my stand-out accounts are
from the admirable Trio Wanderer for their fresh, vital and
highly accomplished playing. The Wanderer is well recorded in
2000 from the Arsenal de Metz, France on Harmonia Mundi HMC
902002.03 (c/w Sonatensatz, D28; Notturno, D897).
Another very fine modern digital offering of the two Piano
Trios, D898 and D929 is from Frank Braley (piano); Renaud
Capuçon (violin) and Gautier Capuçon (cello).
The French trio is in splendid form with adept playing that
feels so keenly alive. They were recorded in 2006 at the MC2
Maison de la Culture de Grenoble, France and were issued on
Virgin Classics 00946 365476 2 6 (c/w Notturno, D897).
Also on the Eterna disc is the Violin Sonata (Sonatina)
in A minor, Op. 137/2, D385. Schubert composed it in
1816 at a time when he felt obliged to go into teaching rather
than be conscripted for military service. It seems that it was
dedicated to his older brother Ferdinand who also composed.
Schubert’s repertoire for violin and piano is totally
undeserving of the relative neglect it experiences. In March
2012 I interviewed the renowned violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter
prior to her recital with pianist Lambert Orkis at the Bridgewater
Hall, Manchester. In her programme she had included Schubert’s
Fantasie in C major. She is a great advocate of the piece
explaining that it “is the crown of chamber music repertoire…
Seriously, it is the greatest piece ever written for violin
and piano.” Praise indeed from such an exalted judge!
For Eterna the Violin Sonata D385 is played by Amadeus
Webersinke (piano) and Manfred Scherzer (violin). The bluster
of the opening movement is contrasted with restlessness - it
cannot seem to settle. I was struck by the influence of Mozart.
Verging on the dramatic the writing of the Andante con moto
is notable for its variation in tempi and intensity with which
the duo copes adeptly. The extremely short and forthright Scherzo
is made of stern stuff. With such highly melodic music the players
convey real nobility and the violin is conspicuous for writing
that exploits its mid-to-high registers. Overflowing with good
humour and high spirits in the Finale the assured players
unearth a serious undertone. Webersinke’s piano tone and
balance was fine although I did feel that the intonation of
Scherzer’s violin was slightly awry.
From the competing accounts of the Violin Sonata D385
I admire the glorious version from Julia Fischer (violin) and
Martin Helmchen (piano). They recorded this at the Concertboerderij
Valthermond in 2009. There’s a winning spontaneity and
memorable brio about their readings of all of Schubert’s
works for violin and piano. They can be heard on two separate
volumes from Pentatone Classics: volume 1 (SACD) PTC 5186 347
(c/w D384; D408; D895) and volume 2 (SACD) PTC 5186 348 (c/w
D574; D934 and D940 for piano duet with Fischer playing piano
with Helmchen). D385 is on volume 1 and on volume 2 you will
find the the same Fantasie D934 that Mutter rates
so highly. Another account worthy of serious consideration is
from Szymon Goldberg (violin) and Radu Lupu (piano). This was
set down in London’s Kingsway Hall in 1978. The sparkling
Goldberg and Lupu find an abundance of light and shade in this
double set of Schubert’s music for violin and piano. Sadly
it’s not complete as the virtuosic Rondo Brillant,
D895 is missing. The set is on Decca Classics 289 466 748-2
(c/w D385, D408, D574, D934 and D821 for cello and piano with
Maurice Gendron and Jean Françaix in mono).
For Eterna Edition the present re-issued Schubert scores are
beautifully played and recorded. These performances are worthy
to stand alongside the finest accounts although they do not
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