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Smetana, Tchaikovsky: Piano Trios / Vienna Piano Trio

Notes & Reviews:

The Vienna Piano Trio's critically acclaimed recordings of the piano trios of Dvorak, Schubert, Mahler, Schoenberg, and Zemlinsky are still fresh in our memory; and now the three musicians are presenting their interpretations of the important trios of Smetana and Tchaikovsky. Smetana wrote his Trio in G minor op. 15 in a mere two months and performed the piano part at its premiere in Prague on 3 December 1855. The public and critics were not all that enthusiastic, but Franz Liszt was full of praise for it, and Smetana continued to play it in his old age, when he was already completely deaf. His personal secret: in it he expressed his grief for his daughter, who had died in her youth.

Gramophone Magazine
But what makes this disc especially recommendable is the inclusion of Smetana's G minor Piano Trio, which the composer himself premiered in 1855. All three movements are in the home key and thematically linked yet are enticingly diverseà..the rondo finale bursts with energy (especially as presented here). All in all a real winner of a disc that can be highly recommended on all counts.

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
This version of the Tchaikovsky measures up extremely well against its competition; moreover it is (like all chamber recordings from this source) very well balanced. Pianist Stefan Mendl is able to dominate yet become a full member of the partnership throughout. The second movement's variations open gently but soon develop the widest range of style, moving through Tchaikovsky's kaleidoscopic mood-changes like quicksilver and often with elegiac lyrical feeling.

But what makes this disc especially recommendable is the inclusion of Smetana's G minor Piano Trio, which the composer himself premiered in 1855. All three movements are in the home key and thematically linked yet are enticingly diverse, the first with strong contrasts of dynamic and tempo, the second a most engaging scherzo (marked non agitato and with slower interludes), while the rondo finale bursts with energy (especially as presented here). All in all a real winner of a disc that can be highly recommended on all counts.



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