One of the most grown-up review sites around

50,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

Brahms Symphony 4 Dvorak Symphony 9
Peter Aronsky (piano) Les Délices du Piano"
IL Carnevale di Venezia Clarinet with orchestra

Sinfonie Concertanti for two flutes and orchestra



A most rewarding CD
Renate Eggebrecht violin


Nick Barnard review
Michael Cookson review

an inspirational performance

An indispensable acquisition

The finest we have had in years

bewitching sound

Simply amazing

A splendid addition

One of the most enjoyable

quite superb!

utterly essential

A wonderful introduction

An outstanding CD


One of the finest versions

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Piano Trio No. 2 in F major, Op. 80 (1847) [25:59]
Kinderszenen, Op. 15 (1838) [18:42]
Piano Quartet in E flat major, Op. 47 (1842) [26:25]
The Benvenue Fortepiano Trio (Eric Zivian (fortepiano); Monica Huggett (violin); Tanya Tomkins (cello)); Adam LaMotte (viola)
rec. Old St. Hilary's Tiburon, California, 25-29 July 2011
AVIE AV2272 [71:07]

I am no reactionary when it comes to period instruments, believing that the gains may far outweigh the losses in music of the baroque and classical periods. Yet in Romantic repertoire the “historically informed” approach is sometimes less successful.

Here and there in Schumann's F major Trio I must admit to finding the sound of these instruments undernourished. At times a lack of vibrato exposes less than pure intonation. Another shortcoming is the slight overshadowing of the cello in fully scored passages, especially in the first movement. Listening with score, I occasionally saw more than I heard. Also, the ideal buoyancy which is always desirable in Schumann is sometimes sacrificed in favour of a certain heavy-handedness. These caveats aside, there is much to admire in this performance of the F major Trio – plenty of energy and momentum in the opening movement, ardent feeling in the glorious slow movement, a suitably quirky rhythmic character in the third, elegance, fantasy and that elusive rhythmic buoyancy in the finale. In the 'minor quibbles' category are one or two of Monica Huggett's expressive shifts – perhaps to compensate for the minimal vibrato – and the rather bathroomy acoustic.

The Benvenue Fortepiano Trio with Adam LaMotte give a superb performance of the even more glorious Piano Quartet, a work which is probably less widely familiar than the Piano Quintet. The quintet is one of those works — along with the Trout Quintet and Dvorak's American String Quartet — with which one might introduce chamber music to a reluctant listener. Yet many seasoned chamber musicians and Schumann aficionados rate the quartet even more highly. As a Schumaniac – to borrow Steven Isserlis's word – I would not like to choose between them.

Eric Zivian's performance of the Kinderszenen is sensitive but does not achieve the utmost poetry, and he is often rather bass-heavy.

Philip Borg-Wheeler



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger