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Brahms: Trios, Vol. 2 / Gould Piano Trio

Brahms / Gould / Neary / Frith / Pyatt / Plane
Release Date: 09/13/2011 
Label:  Quartz Records   Catalog #: 2042   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johannes Brahms
Performer:  David PyattRobert Plane
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gould Piano Trio
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

BRAHMS Horn Trio in E?. Piano Trio No. 3 in c. Clarinet Trio in a Gould Pn Trio; David Pyat (hn); Robert Plane (cl) QUARTZ 2042 (73:56)

It probably would have made more sense for a contributor other than me to offer a second opinion on this release, for it’s clearly an émigré from the three-disc set containing these same performances, plus those of Brahms’s other trio works, I reviewed in Fanfare 33:2. I wasn’t enthralled with the Gould’s Read more renderings of the three standard piano trios, but the readings of the horn and clarinet trios struck me as the best of the lot. Quartz has thus cherry-picked the original set for the two most desirable items and filled out the disc with the shortest of Brahms’s numbered piano trios.

I see by the listings that the Piano Trios Nos. 1 and 2 have also been culled from the original three-disc collection and are available on another stand-alone disc. Between that one and this one, the two casualties are the A-Major Trio, which is of questionable authenticity anyway, and the original version of the B-Major Trio (No. 1). Perhaps Quartz will make those two works available on a third separate disc as well, though, if you ask me, I think the original version of the B-Major Trio should be banned for the sake of Brahms’s reputation. So, if one wants the five canonical trio works, acquiring them on two CDs instead of three is the more economical way to go; that is, assuming the Gould Piano Trio is to your liking.

Assuredly, there were things I liked about the performances—the sound of Alice Neary’s richly vibrant cello, Benjamin Frith’s plush piano tone, and Lucy Gould’s violin topping them with a touch of cream; and I was pleased to report that the ensemble observed the lengthy first-movement exposition repeat in the B-Major Trio. But there were also some things I didn’t care for—Gould’s splaying of chords across strings and tempos that seemed a bit pressed to me. As noted, however, I was very taken with Pyat and Plane in the horn and clarinet trios, respectively.

For the piano trios, I still lean toward Nicholas Angelich and the Capuçon brothers on Virgin Classics, but from the Gould’s original set, Quartz has given us the three best performances on a single disc that offers a less costly option than the three-disc set and, in my opinion, is definitely worth the investment, assuming, of course, you didn’t acquire the original compilation when it was first released.

FANFARE: Jerry Dubins
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Works on This Recording

Trio for Horn, Violin and Piano in E flat major, Op. 40 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  David Pyatt (Horn)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gould Piano Trio
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865; Austria 
Date of Recording: 09/19/2005 
Venue:  Champs Hill, Sussex 
Length: 28 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Trio for Piano and Strings no 3 in C minor, Op. 101 by Johannes Brahms
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gould Piano Trio
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/04/2004 
Venue:  Champs Hill, Sussex 
Length: 20 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano in A minor, Op. 114 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Robert Plane (Clarinet)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gould Piano Trio
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891; Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/08/2005 
Venue:  Champs Hill, Sussex 
Length: 24 Minutes 10 Secs. 

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