Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Piano Trio No. 5 in D major, Op. 70, No. 1 Ghost Trio (1808) [25:01]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Piano Trio No. 1 in B major, Op. 8 (1853/54 rev. 1889) [33:57]
Edwin Fischer (piano); Wolfgang Schneiderhan (violin); Enrico Mainardi (cello)
rec. 8 August 1953, Mozarteum, Salzburg. Ambient Stereo
PRISTINE AUDIO PACM 088 [58:58]
This recording, made only two years before Fischer’s death, were originally issued on LP. There were apologies from Paul Badura-Skoda, who made it, that the microphone placement had resulted in the strings sounding too loud and the piano correspondingly recessed.
The present re-mastering by Andrew Rose has not been able either fully to resolve that issue; neither has he been able completely to tame the harshness of the original sound. However, it was always very immediate and now has considerable additional body, with frequencies filled out and the piano at least sounding more like an equal partner rather than a background accompaniment. This was a live concert, hence there is the odd, stray cough - such as at 7:27 - and applause after each piece. For the most part though the sound is very acceptable.
We hear appreciable verve and vigour in the Allegro and Presto of the Beethoven. Fischer is rapt and monumental in the Largo which is played by all three artists with soulful intensity. This is helped by the fact that the piano sounds more prominent in that movement. They are nowhere near as fast as the Beaux Arts Trio. The latter come in at a full two minutes faster in that first movement and over a minute quicker in the Presto. They sound almost frantic, if still adept, by comparison with Fischer, Schneiderhan and Mainardi.
The Brahms is powerful, masculine and elastic in tempo. Again, the Fischer Trio is noticeably slower than the Beaux Arts by about a minute in each movement, and I like their more measured interpretation. This is Brahms with authentic sweep and nobility, even if enjoyment is slightly tempered by the metallic edge on both stringed instruments.