Notes and Editorial Reviews
Piano Trios: No. 1 in Bb; No. 2 in Eb.
Jan Vermeulen (fp); Christine Busch (vn); France Springuel (vc)
ETCETERA 1495 (2CDs: 142:42)
Listening to this beautifully played collection of Schubert’s piano trios, the two completed ones and the lonely single movements, I realized that this is the one recording I have that was made on fortepiano.
Other favorites, including the recordings by the Beaux Arts Trio, the lesser known Trio di Trieste, and the more romantic recording by Arthur Grumiaux, Pierre Fournier, and Nikita Magaloff, are on modern instruments. That wouldn’t matter, perhaps, if the performances on this new disc were less convincing. Jan Vermeulen has been recording the Schubert sonatas to great acclaim. He now has added a recording of the trios that is clearly articulated, impassioned, at times even jaunty. His partners are equally adept: cellist Springuel is less liable to introduce a sob into his statements of Schubert’s gorgeous melodies than was Fournier. The trio plays gracefully together: it doesn’t sound like a collection of stars. The haunting melody of the second movement of the Trio in Eb, played first by the cello over chomping chords, is played chastely, and is ravishing nonetheless. This theme is treated in every which way, including with swirling intensity: the trio captures every twist of Schubert’s treatments. I admire this group’s occasional restraint, its crispness, but also its emotional commitment to the music, which it plays without exaggeration or idiosyncrasy. Of the other recordings I mentioned, only the Beaux Arts Trio recording includes the one-movement works.
FANFARE: Michael Ullman
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