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Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Piano Trio No. 1 in B major (1854) [34.49]
Piano Trio No. 3 in C minor (1887) [20.46]
Gutman Trio (Sviatoslav Moroz (violin); Natalia Gutman (cello); Dmitri Vinnik (piano))
rec. Muzichi Studio, Kiev, Ukraine, 2012
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94474 [55.41]

The Gutman Trio’s readings of these wonderfully lyrical piano trios are a delight. The ensemble playing is vital, neat and accurate and beautifully nuanced. The piano parts in both Trios are both exquisitely crafted and rendered - a joy to the ear.
 
Brahms’ First Piano Trio is a youthful work. The composer originally signed it ‘Kreisler junior”, in reference to E.T.A. Hoffman’s character, kapellmeister Kreisler. Schumann had, of course, dedicated his Kreisleriana to the same individual. The rounded character of this quaint figure is reflected in Brahms’s: beautiful effulgent melodies vying with impatient, angry, crosspatch outbursts, determined assertiveness contrasting with a pathos, vulnerability and yearning that is so touching. The breezy Scherzo gallops along joyfully while the prayer-like Adagio has a lovely serene, ethereal quality. The thrusting optimistic finale is a youthful Allegro full of high spirits.
 
Brahms’ Third Piano Trio was composed some 33 years later while he was enjoying a relaxing holiday in Switzerland. Clara Schumann commented on it: “What a piece! Thoroughly brilliant, carrying one along with its inventiveness, charm and poetic force!” The first movement has material that is assertive but happy and relaxed with a more serious meditative quality too in typical Brahmsian style. The Presto second movement scherzo is unusually quiet, even subdued in character but utterly charming and yet quietly light-footed in the hands of the Gutman Trio. The following kind Andante is almost a lullaby; affectionate and caring. It leads on to the outgoing finale based on folk material.
 
As good as these performances are I cannot dispel the magic of the Beaux Arts performances on Philips.
 
Winning performances of two engaging piano trios.
 
Ian Lace
 




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