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Brahms, Schumann, Frühling: Trios / Isserlis, Collins, Hough

Release Date: 10/12/1999 
Label:  Rca Victor Red Seal Catalog #: 63504   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johannes BrahmsRobert SchumannCarl Frühling
Performer:  Steven IsserlisStephen HoughMichael Collins
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 9 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Attractive chamber music performed in a warmly conversational style with a little-known romantic rarity thrown in.

Listening to a good chamber music performance should be like eavesdropping on a mutually sympathetic conversation. Here, that conversation is between kindred spirits for whom musical phrasing and mellifluous tone production are evident priorities. Even when playing quietly, Stephen Hough exhibits an acute sense of tonal colour. Try from, say, 2'23'' into Brahms's finale, where he posits the main idea and his colleagues respond with like minds. Hough's transcription of Schumann's 'Traumerei' might, at first glance, seem like a somewhat old-fashioned appendage to an otherwise enterprising programme. And yet
Read more the musical result - where Michael Collins holds the main melody line until near the end of the piece, when Steven Isserlis takes over just for a couple of bars - is utterly captivating.

If the Brahms is 'the fruit of profound maturity' (to quote Isserlis's often entertaining booklet-note), Schumann's four Marchenerzahlungen - performed here with a cello in place of the original viola - combine forcefulness with a certain fragility. For example, the Lebhaft und sehr markiert second movement opens emphatically, then skips off in heady abandon before settling to a mood where the two elements - dark resolution and aerial fantasy - combine. As with so much late Schumann, Marchenerzahlungen seems at pains to make its point without knowing quite why. Therein lies its pathos and peculiar fascination.

The third major component in this well-planned romantic programme is by Lvov-born Carl Fruhling (1868-1937), a gifted composer who, according to Isserlis, partnered celebrated artists of the day and died in poverty. Many of Fruhling's works still await discovery (literally, as no one knows their precise whereabouts) but the Trio recorded here is full of lovely things. Yes, it is eclectic - Collins and Isserlis cite Wagner as an influence, whereas Hough prefers Grieg - but anyone with an ear for Chausson, Korngold, Godowsky or Kreisler is bound to love it. Again, I would quote the finale as an ideal sampling point, especially 5'25'' where Isserlis bows a wistful motive and Hough responds with music that momentarily edges towards Liszt's 'Vallee d'Obermann'.

A highly imaginative programme, one that is characterized above all by fine balancing - musically, interpretatively and technically.

-- Rob Cowan, Gramophone [1/2000]
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Works on This Recording

Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano in A minor, Op. 114 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Steven Isserlis (Cello), Stephen Hough (Piano), Michael Collins (Clarinet)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891; Austria 
Date of Recording: 09/1998 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 25 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Märchenerzählungen for Clarinet, Viola and Piano, Op. 132 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Michael Collins (Clarinet), Steven Isserlis (Cello), Stephen Hough (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/1998 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 14 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Kinderszenen, Op. 15: no 7, Träumerei by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Stephen Hough (Piano), Steven Isserlis (Cello), Michael Collins (Clarinet)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838; Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/1998 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: Stephen Hough 
Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano in A minor, Op. 40 by Carl Frühling
Performer:  Steven Isserlis (Cello), Stephen Hough (Piano), Michael Collins (Clarinet)
Period: 20th Century 
Date of Recording: 09/1998 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 26 Minutes 21 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Allegro I.
Adagio II.
Andantino grazioso III.
Allegro IV.
Lebhaft, nicht zu schnell
Lebhaft und sehr markirt
Ruhiges Tempo, mit zartem Ausdruck
Lebhaft, sehr markirt
Mäßig schnell
Anmutig bewegt
Allegro vivace

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