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Brahms: Piano Trios, Piano Quintet / Frankl, Previn, Et Al

Release Date: 03/11/2004 
Label:  Emi Classics Double Fforte Catalog #: 73341   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Johannes Brahms
Performer:  György PaukPeter FranklRalph KirshbaumAldo Parisot,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yale String Quartet
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

London concert-goers may still remember that splendid pilgrimage through Brahms's sonatas and trios made by Frankl, Pauk and Kirshbaum at the QEH in 1976. Now comes the longpromised recording of the three piano trios— but how ironical that the Suk Trio should have beaten diem to the post by just a couple of months after so long a dearth of new contenders. At k 127 cheaper, with the Horn Trio as bonus, the two-disc Supraphon album plainly constitutes a challenge. In so far as sonority goes the HMV issue unquestionably justifies the extra cash: the tone is more warm, ripe and full, with a resonance particularly helpful to the strings. Once or twice in the B major Trio I thought Franki's piano over robust (the pesante second subject in the Read more finale is one notable instance, where perhaps the ideal balance comes in the old Katchen/Suk/Starker version on Decca), though for the most part give and take in the new set is carefully considered.

As for musical approach, perhaps the opening movement of the Archduke-inspired B major Trio provides the clue. Frankl and his colleagues are more leisurely and sumptuously majestic, whereas the Suk Trio are more responsive to the con brie qualifying the allegro, as also to the a/la breve time signature (though it is interesting to note that in company with Katchen and Starker. Suk's tempi are often more relaxed). In the sprightly Scherzo I prefer Jan Panenka's clarity in repeated notes and rhythmic precision, butt he antiphonal exchanges of the Adagio are mor rapt, more devout from the newcomers, with a more finely moulded and sustained line from violin and cello. In the C major Trio I questioned their more leisurely tempo in the variation movement, marked Andante con inoto: here the flame burns more brightly from the volatile Czechs. Limited space only permits me to generalize about the rest, but both teams are excellent in the shadowy Scherzos of both later trios (and how different they are from the big, burly Scherzos of Brahms's youth) and 'there is little to choose between them in the finales. Since this composer cries out for rich sound my vote must go to the new album if you can only afford one. But the music is such heart-warming, quintessential Brahms, so sympathetically interpreted by all concerned (in their different ways) that I would say buy both albums if you can—and those old Decca Ace of Diamonds discs too.

J.O.C., Gramophone [12/1979] Reviewing original LP
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Works on This Recording

Trio for Piano and Strings no 1 in B major, Op. 8 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  György Pauk (Violin), Peter Frankl (Piano), Ralph Kirshbaum (Cello)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854/1889; Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/1976 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 37 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Trio for Piano and Strings no 2 in C major, Op. 87 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Ralph Kirshbaum (Cello), Peter Frankl (Piano), György Pauk (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880-1882; Austria 
Date of Recording: 09/1976 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 32 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Trio for Piano and Strings no 3 in C minor, Op. 101 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Peter Frankl (Piano), Ralph Kirshbaum (Cello), György Pauk (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; Austria 
Date of Recording: 09/1976 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 21 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Quintet for Piano and Strings in F minor, Op. 34 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Aldo Parisot (Cello), Walter Trampler (Viola), Syoko Aki (Violin),
Broadus Erle (Violin), André Previn (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yale String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1861-1864; Austria 
Date of Recording: 08/1972 
Venue:  All Saints' Church, Tooting, London 
Length: 42 Minutes 47 Secs. 

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