Notes and Editorial Reviews
Mendelssohn wrote three piano trios, but the first, with violin and viola joining the keyboard, has traditionally not been counted, since it was written when he was just eleven years old. The booklet says it’s his “first ever piece with multiple movements.” The trio’s neglect is a shame, because while it may not win any prizes it’s delightful for earnestness and easy tunefulness. You can clearly hear both the influence of the past and the Mendelssohn to come, especially in the preteen’s skittish scherzo (just 1:49 long) and a contrapuntal slow movement which betrays influences even of the baroque. This is one of just three available recordings.
The first numbered piano trio, in D minor, is a great leap forward, a
masterpiece, and gets vibrantly played here. The same goes for the second trio - Felix and Fanny wrote all these pieces in minor keys - although in the second the opening movement (‘allegro energico e con fuoco’) is lacking in
fuoco. This trio, one of Mendelssohn’s last works, may initially be harder to crack, but the performers really dig into the scherzo and finale, so best is emphatically saved for last.
Then there's Fanny Mendelssohn's own trio, a very fine, dramatic piece in D minor. The players use my least favorite of the four historical pianos here (a Schweighofer from 1854), but that doesn't dampen the enthusiasm of the performance.
One of this set’s pleasures is that a different historical piano is chosen for every piece, allowing the listener to “taste” four instruments. They span about 50 years and include an especially warm Broadwood from 1838. Photographs of all are included. There are also photographs of the four talented performers, but no biographies.
If you're interested in Mendelssohn on period instruments, it doesn't get much better than this. If you just want the complete trios, the same advice applies.
– Brian Reinhart, MusicWeb International Read less
Works on This Recording
Piano Trio No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 49, MWV Q29: I. Molto allegro ed agitato
Piano Trio No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 49, MWV Q29: II. Andante con moto tranquillo
Piano Trio No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 49, MWV Q29: III. Scherzo: Leggiero e vivace
Piano Trio No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 49, MWV Q29: IV. Finale: Allegro assai appassionato
Piano Trio in C Minor (1820): I. Allegro
Piano Trio in C Minor (1820): II. Scherzo
Piano Trio in C Minor (1820): III. Adagio
Piano Trio in C Minor (1820): IV. Allegro
Piano Trio No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 66, MWV Q33: I. Allegro energico e con fuoco
Piano Trio No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 66, MWV Q33: II. Andante espressivo
Piano Trio No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 66, MWV Q33: III. Scherzo: Molto allegro quasi presto
Piano Trio No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 66, MWV Q33: IV. Finale: Allegro appassionato
Piano Trio in D Minor, Op. 11: I. Allegro molto vivace
Piano Trio in D Minor, Op. 11: II. Andante espressivo
Piano Trio in D Minor, Op. 11: III. Lied: Allegretto
Piano Trio in D Minor, Op. 11: IV. Finale: Allegro moderato
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