MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around   2022
 57,903 reviews
   and more ... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here
Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Édouard LALO (1823-1892)
Piano Trio No. 1 in C minor, Op.7 (c. 1850) [21:09]
Piano Trio No. 2 in B minor (c.1852) [28:53]
Piano Trio No. 3 in A minor, Op.26 (1880) [29:12]
Leonore Piano Trio
rec. December 2014, Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth
HYPERION CDA68113 [79:16]

Lalo’s Piano Trios are not unknown by any means but you’d be doing well to claim any real familiarity with them either on disc or in the concert hall. All three are sealed with a Schumannesque kiss: Lalo was unusual in his veneration of German music and few others of his compatriots would have been outspoken enough to declare that ‘Germany is my true musical fatherland’ and he practised compositionally what he preached.

The C minor Trio was written around 1850, the product of a composer then barely 27. It opens with a ruminative soliloquy for the cello – you won’t find flashy tricks in Lalo – before he introduces the first of his strongly contoured melodies. Agitato sections melt into flowing cantabile ones. With much expressive weight falling on the cello, it’s important that the string players match bow weight and vibrato speed and are sensible about unison passages – fortunately the Leonore Piano Trio players have clearly put in a lot of thought to these matters. The slow movement is, in essence, a Romance sans paroles whilst the scherzo is a doughty dance. Annotator Roger Nichols calls it ‘fairies dancing in lederhosen’ – maybe he’s playing on Tovey’s old Sibelian trope of the Violin Concerto’s ‘polonaise for polar bears’. Predictably the cello’s recitative starts an ingratiating Schumannesque-cum-Mendelssohnian finale.

The Trio in B minor followed about two years later – no one seems quite sure as to the exact dates of composition of these two early trios. There are hymnal qualities to its opening and one of his most infectiously attractive melodies in the flowing cantabile of the slow movement. The scherzo is wittily projected with quite a theatrical trio section and there’s a deal of agitato in the finale, but also lashings of brio and verve and sheer tunefulness. It would be hard to judge these two works retrogressive stylistically, given the rough date of their composition. Their centre of gravity is certainly Germanic, but Lalo’s absorption of his models is excellent and thoroughly convincing.

By the time of the 1880 trio – the date for this one is known – nearly thirty years had elapsed since his last piano trio. Starting appassionato, the writing is now more harmonically questing even, sometimes, a touch piquant. A strikingly persistent piano is answered in the scherzo by strings that sound more resilient than ebullient – a most invigorating piece of characterisation. The slow movement is a funeral march, though its elegy is balanced by sufficient contrast, whilst the finale does sound just a little Brahmsian, despite Lalo’s protestations that he disliked Brahms’ music, allied to more evidence of his much-loved Schumann. This is certainly the most structurally sophisticated of the trios, as one would expect from its date of composition.

Benjamin Nabarro, Gemma Rosefield and Tim Horton make a very convincing case for this trio of trios and the production – recording, notes, and design – is up to Hyperion’s high standards.

Jonathan Woolf



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount