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
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
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.