Notes and Editorial Reviews
As a composer, Mendelssohn has a reputation for being cute and zippy, graceful and tasteful in an inhibited, Victorian sort of way, and so he often was. But he could express passion, and to find it you have to look to his chamber music, particularly these two trios, both based in minor keys and both full of emotional turmoil (in a good way). The movement titles really do say it all. Trio No. 1 opens Molto allegro agitato, and these players keep the music at a barely restrained simmer until it explodes in the dramatic coda. The finale, marked Allegro assai appassionato, also features Mendelssohn in "take no prisoners" mode, and you won't hear a more apt realization of his intentions than
If anything, the Trio No. 2 is even more intense, quite similar in tone to the late F minor string quartet. Here we find Allegro energico e con fuoco, and gorgeous (and gorgeously played) Andante espressivo, and another "appassionato" conclusion. It's rather amazing that these pieces aren't played and recorded more often. I vividly remember a live performance of the Trio No. 1 after which I overheard people saying, in effect, "where has this music been?" So give yourself a treat and sample some Mendelssohn you might not know ever existed.
Harmonia Mundi's sumptuous engineering balances Vincent Coq's brilliant keyboard playing perfectly against his two partners. This isn't as easy as it sounds; Mendelssohn expects the pianist to execute tons of notes at high speed in the outer movements of both works, without ever overpowering the strings. That Trio Wanderer manages this feat so effortlessly is just one of the delightful surprises that await you if you add this release to your collection.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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