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Smetana: Piano Trio; Liszt: Elegies

Audio Samples

>Liszt, Franz : Tristia, from Vallee d'Obermann (III), for violin, cello & piano, S. 378c (LW D18)
>Liszt, Franz : Die Zelle in Nonnenwerth, for violin or cello & piano, S. 382
>Liszt, Franz : Romance oubliée for Cello and Piano, S 132
>Smetana, Bedrich : Trio for Piano and Strings in G minor, JB 1
>     64 (Op. 15)
>Liszt, Franz : Elegy no 1 for Cello and Piano, S 130/R 471b
>Liszt, Franz : Elegy no 2 for Cello and Piano, S 131
>Liszt, Franz : La lugubre gondola for Cello and Piano, S 134

Album Summary

>Liszt, Franz : Tristia, from Vallee d'Obermann (III), for violin, cello & piano, S. 378c (LW D18)
>Liszt, Franz : Die Zelle in Nonnenwerth, for violin or cello & piano, S. 382
>Liszt, Franz : Romance oubliée for Cello and Piano, S 132
>Smetana, Bedrich : Trio for Piano and Strings in G minor, JB 1
>Liszt, Franz : Elegy no 1 for Cello and Piano, S 130/R 471b
>Liszt, Franz : Elegy no 2 for Cello and Piano, S 131
>Liszt, Franz : La lugubre gondola for Cello and Piano, S 134
Performers Composers

Notes & Reviews:

This resolutely elegiac disc offers an opportunity to discover, through their chamber music, the dark side of two composers who are not often associated. Smetana’s primary purpose was to give utterance to a cry of pain at his daughter’s death through the medium of the piano trio. In the Liszt pieces, elegies and funeral gondolas remind us of the deeply human and tormented nature of a composer haunted by death and who, more than any other, was capable of expressing its icy smile. The Trio Wanderer realize all this in deeply moving performances.

"they excel together in Liszt's "Tristia" and separately in "Romance oubliée" and "La lugubre gondola"-The Independent

"What a fascinating issue this is. The combination of arrangements and original compositions variously for piano, violin and cello by Liszt and Smetana's marvellous G minor Piano Trio is appropriate...The Wanderer Trio are very successful in the six chamber works by Liszt, negotiating the fearsome virtuosity of Tristia...with confidence."-BBC Music

"Trio Wanderer captures the various shades of melancholy and nostalgia that Liszt voiced in these and four other works in a similar vein, and in Smetana's Trio evokes the heartache and anguish that the composer expressed on the death of his young daughter."-The Telegraph

All Music Guide - James Manheim
The combination of Smetana, one of the 19th century's more conservative composers, and Liszt, one of its radicals, is not a common one on recordings, but after you finish with this extraordinary album by France's Trio Wanderer it will seem to make perfect sense. It is the idea of the elegy, a popular one in the 19th century, that ties the program together. Several of the Liszt works involved are designated as elegies, but even those that are not somehow touch on remembrances of things past.

The Smetana Trio in G minor, Op. 15, was written after the death of the composer's four-year-old daughter, Bedriska, of scarlet fever in 1855. The Trio Wanderer gives a very fine performance of this work, capturing the violent contrasts in the opening movement between moods of nostalgic memory and the fervent grief of the present. But it is the works by Liszt -- not a composer known for his chamber music -- that really set this release apart. All come from late in his career, and several are transcriptions of earlier works. These are not the usual sort of utilitarian Romantic-era transcription, however. Instead, they represent new stages in Liszt's thinking about the work, and about the events that inspired them, such as, in the case of the violin-and-piano version of the song Die Zelle in Nonnenwerth (The Cell at Nonnenwerth, track 2), his final excursion with his married lover, the Countess Marie d'Agoult. Liszt does not simply reproduce the original song, but adds a downbeat conclusion, as if pessimistically recollecting the story. All of the Liszt pieces have some kind of fluid identity, and they reveal a side of the composer's late style that has been there for all to see but hasn't been much investigated due to the tendency to place the "work" on a pedestal. The emphasis on the idea of elegy illuminates both Liszt and Smetana and reveals a largely ignored connection: one of the few champions of the Smetana trio when it appeared in the 1850s was none other than Franz Liszt. Notes by Jan Wolfrum, in French, English, and German, provide deep but highly readable background, and the engineering is nonpareil. Superb, groundbreaking, and quite moving music-making.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Teldex Studio, Berlin (09/2009).



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Works Details

>Liszt, Franz : Tristia, from Vallée d'Obermann (III), for violin, cello & piano, S. 378c (LW D18)
  • Performer: Trio Wanderer (Trio)
  • Running Time: 16 min. 40 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1880

>Liszt, Franz : Die Zelle in Nonnenwerth, for violin or cello & piano, S. 382
  • Performer: Trio Wanderer (Trio)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 40 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: by 1886

>Liszt, Franz : Romance oubliée for Cello and Piano, S 132
  • Performer: Trio Wanderer (Trio)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 12 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1880

>Smetana, Bedrich : Trio for Piano and Strings in G minor, JB 1 :: 64 (Op. 15)
  • Performer: Trio Wanderer (Trio)
  • Running Time: 27 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1855

>Liszt, Franz : Elegy no 1 for Cello and Piano, S 130/R 471b
  • Performers: Vincent Coq (Piano); Raphaël Pidoux (Cello)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1874

>Liszt, Franz : Elegy no 2 for Cello and Piano, S 131
  • Performers: Jean-Marc Phillips-Varjabedian (Violin); Vincent Coq (Piano)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1877-1878

>Liszt, Franz : La lugubre gondola for Cello and Piano, S 134
  • Performers: Vincent Coq (Piano); Raphaël Pidoux (Cello)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1882