Notes and Editorial Reviews
It's typical of what happens in the classical recording industry that having just raved about Harmonia Mundi's set of Saint-Saëns trios featuring Trio Wanderer, out comes another that's every bit as fine. Of course, this wasn't unexpected. Hyperion has been quietly issuing a superb series of discs devoted to the composer's chamber music, including music for cello and piano, violin and piano, and a two-disc set of miscellaneous pieces. All of these have been excellent. Meanwhile, the Florestan Trio, having worked its way through much of the 19th-century trio repertoire with great success, inevitably would turn its collective attention to these two works, standing as they do among the very
greatest efforts in the medium from any period. So here we are.
The principal difference between the two versions lies in the Florestan Trio's more muscular approach to accents and dynamic contrasts, most immediately evident in such places as the slow movement of the First Trio, or the opening of the finale of No. 2 (with a nice touch of portamento as well). This does not in any way compromise the ensemble's technical polish: note the perfectly tuned octaves in the same movement, or the deft piano playing of Susan Tomes throughout the program. It's simply a question of degree: Trio Wanderer comes across as marginally more fluent, the Florestans as a touch more emphatic. Both characterize the three inner movements of Trio No. 2 very well, and both are beautifully recorded. There's simply no way to choose between them, and either will give acres of listening pleasure. So if you are looking for these gorgeous, masterful pieces--and if you don't own them yet you certainly should--then purchase this disc in full confidence that it certainly doesn't get any better.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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