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Promenades Sentimentales - Chausson, Dubois, Pfeiffer / Trio Arcadis

Chausson / Dubois / Pfeiffer
Release Date: 08/14/2012 
Label:  Anima Records (Classical)   Catalog #: 110300001   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ernest ChaussonThéodore DuboisGeorges Jean Pfeiffer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trio Arcadis
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

CHAUSSON Piano Trio. DUBOIS Promenade sentimentale. PFEIFFER Piano Trio No. 2 Arcadis Trio ANIMA 110300001 (61:56)

Here we have a trio so modest that only its collective name is given on the CD and in the booklet. Not only that, but when one checks online one receives conflicting information. One website (and the CD booklet) states that the trio was formed in 2001, naming the Read more members as Amandine Charroing-Ley, and Sarah and Anne-Claire Veilhan Lantenois. There are also photos of these three women to be seen online. Yet the back cover of the CD booklet clearly shows a male cellist, and another website, when translated through Google, is nearly incomprehensible. The only thing I can deduce from this is that Anne-Claire’s sister, Sarah Veilhan Lantenois, was the original cellist of the group but for some reason left and was replaced by Yves Saint-Nicolas, possibly as early as 2002. Regardless, these are three very exceptional musicians, finely attuned not only to each other but particularly to the French Romantic music presented on this CD. I could not find them listed at ArkivMusic, so I assume this is their debut CD.

In general, what characterizes their sound—at least in this repertore—is a bright, slim, silvery violin tone not unlike that of Jacques Thibaud, a warm and slightly ambient cello, and a piano that is clearly etched, not unlike a Blüthner or a Steinway (though, alas, I could not discover the make of instrument). Their style is fluid and flowing, as is always apropos in this kind of music, and they combine elegance with sweeping passion when called upon. Despite strong competition in the first work from the Vienna Schubert Trio (Nimbus), Parnassus Trio (MD&G), Meadowmount Trio (Naxos), and Wanderer Trio (Harmonia Mundi), this performance certainly holds its own. The brief Promenade sentimentale by Théodore Dubois is less substantial, in fact relatively uninteresting. The liner notes say that “since he passed away in 1924, the unfavorable opinions of his detractors have won the day.” Well, if this piece is typical, count me among them. This is Yuppie brunch music, nothing more.

On the other hand, the piano trio of Georges Pfeiffer (1835–1908) is actually a very fine work with quite original thematic ideas and a good sense of construction—even rather chromatic at times in his quick shifts of tonality à la Strauss or Debussy. In fact, I would actually place this particular work above the Chausson in terms of originality—not one phrase sounds predictable, and the changes of mood are often as swift as the changes of key. The Arcadis Trio really has the measure of this work, and makes a fine case for it being performed more often. (Checking the composer at ArkivMusic, I could only find one other work by him, a song titled Malgré moi , recorded by the Spanish-American baritone Emilio de Gogorza in 1911.) The opening minor-key melody of the second-movement Scherzo actually sounds more Hispanic than French, and in the major-key second half Pfeiffer plays with both the harmony and melody in a way that both engages and delights the listener. This is a first-rate piece of music, superbly and fetchingly played.

I would unhesitatingly recommend this disc to any lovers of French chamber music, despite my caveat about the (fortunately) brief Dubois piece, and I will certainly be looking out for any further Arcadis Trio releases.

FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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Works on This Recording

Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in G minor, Op. 3 by Ernest Chausson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trio Arcadis
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881; France 
Promenade sentimentale by Théodore Dubois
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trio Arcadis
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
Trio for Piano and Strings no 2, Op. 130 by Georges Jean Pfeiffer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trio Arcadis
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 

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