Classical CD Reviews

SCHUBERT: Piano Trios D 898 in B flat major and D 929 in E flat major – Trio Bamberg/ Robert Benz, p. – Musicaphon

If you love this music these rich recordings will please you immensely.

Published on December 3, 2012

SCHUBERT: Piano Trios D 898 in B flat major and D 929 in E flat major – Trio Bamberg/ Robert Benz, p.  – Musicaphon

SCHUBERT: Piano Trios D 898 in B flat major and D 929 in E flat major – Trio Bamberg (Jewgeni Schuk, violin/ Alexander Hülshoff, cello/ Stephan Gerlinghaus, cello (in 929)/ Robert Benz, p.  – Musicaphon M56934, 81:36 [Distr. by Qualiton] ****: 

Schubert’s piano trios are both incredibly popular and fiendishly awkward to play. Laid out in two keys that are not the most flattering to the two string instruments, and set into some of the composer’s most elegant piano writing, here are performances in which the strings match the piano note for note, measure for measure. If you love this music these rich recordings will please you immensely.

In order to accomplish their miracles, Trio Bamberg takes moderate tempos combined with a commitment to finding a tempo and rhetorical attitude, and adjusting it subtly but firmly if necessary, that enables the music to breathe and flow without any interpretive “attitude.” It takes a while to get into what they are doing, but once accomplished it is quite an achievement. At every key transition point the Trio takes a broad, epic road that brings it closer to the great two-cello Quintet.

The sound, recorded in the Nuremberg Meistersinger Halle, has the same ample qualities that the playing does, and piano has a particularly liquid golden tone. Rainer Kahleyss’s brief liner notes are unusually illuminating and inspiring. His quotation from Schumannn upon D 898’s publication in 1936, “A look at this trio and the miserable human bustle flinches and the world shines again” applies entirely to these fine performances.

—Laurence Vittes




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