I thought myself fairly well versed in the piano
trios and quintets my two favourite chamber combinations
of the well-known composers, but these two had slipped through the net
until now. Mind you, record labels havent exactly been flooding
the market with recordings either. ArkivMusic lists four recordings
of the trio and three of the quintet.
Both of the main works here come from the same year, in a decade when
Granados was establishing himself both as a composer and concert pianist.
It was during this period that he was part of a piano trio that had
Pablo Casals as its cellist.
Not unexpectedly, the two pieces have a great deal in common. They are
on the lighter end of the spectrum for their era, but dont be
misled into thinking that they are simple salon pieces. The Spanish
flavour is there, but not strongly so. They overflow with beautiful
melodies, particularly in the piano part, again not unexpectedly. Find
this recording on one of the online sites that offers a preview
or on the Naxos
, if you have access and listen to the opening
minute or so of the trio: a seemingly simple, but quite breathtakingly
lovely piano melody begins the piece. Not convinced yet: try the second
movement of the quintet. The Cassadó arrangement of the Intermezzo
from Goyescas is more often heard in its cello and piano version
this is a fine way to finish the recording.
This isnt a new release, as can be seen from the catalogue number
and recording dates. The competition in each work is small, but each
has a big name: the Beaux Arts Trio (trio) and Martha Argerich and friends
from the 2010 Lugarno festival (quintet). I doubt the performances by
this all-Spanish group would be shaded too much by their notable rivals,
and you get both works on the same disc here. Even in the mp3 format,
the sound quality is very detailed and immediate, as though one was
in the front few rows at a concert. The booklet notes are typical of
Naxos succinct but informative. My only gripe would be the short
playing time. It is true that Granados wrote little chamber music and
that the few short works for violin and piano appear elsewhere on Naxos,
but there is a Madrigal for cello and piano that could have been included.