Notes and Editorial Reviews
It should come as no surprise to those familiar with the Florestan Trio's growing list of recordings for Hyperion that this pairing of Beethoven's Op. 70 trios is first-rate. The better-known D major "Ghost" trio typifies the group's overall approach--lean sonorities, propulsive fast movements, graceful slow ones, and impetuous intensity. The Largo, whose eerie opening gives the work its nickname, goes at a flowing tempo yet retains its magic. In the E-flat major trio, the Florestan stresses Beethoven's abundant harmonic surprises and abrupt mood changes, breaking ruminative passages with violent string chords. Haydn's influence permeates the piece, with melodies reminiscent of the older
composer--along with other Haydn-esque harmonic and developmental surprises--popping up throughout. Schubert is here too, in the remarkable Allegretto with its uncanny anticipation of the melodies the young Viennese composer would write 20 years later.
The charming filler is the B-flat Allegretto, a short earlier work that gets a mellow performance as convincing as the more stringent readings of the bigger trios. Hyperion's sound is a bit distant, but a volume boost makes it more immediate, especially benefiting Susan Tomes' piano, whose bass murmurings in the "Ghost" Largo become more clear and defined. Perhaps best of all is the indication that this is just the first of a complete Beethoven Piano Trio series from the Florestans. Even so, highly recommendable as this disc is, it comes up against strong competition in these works. Aside from such classics as the vintage Serkin/Busch and Casals performances, there are several excellent ones in stereo, with the Stern Trio (Sony) and the Trio Parnassus (MDG) leading the pack. [3/29/2003]
--Dan Davis, ClassicsToday.com Read less
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