Notes and Editorial Reviews
Introduction et Polonaise brillante.
La Vallée d’Obermann)
MIRARE 089 (57:17)
Named for the French composer, the Trio Chausson, all French, has been in existence since 2001. Its first disc was the recording of the Chausson and Ravel trios. The
second was of Schubert. This new disc includes an appropriately passionate, engaged, and supple recording of the Chopin Piano Trio that is virtually the equal in my ears to my favorite recording, that of Pamela Frank, Yo-Yo Ma, and Emmanuel Ax. (Another fine recording is by the Trio Portici on Pavane.) The players are comfortable conveying the splashiness of this somewhat atypical Chopin work, and are also gifted at reproducing its occasional subtleties, as in their dynamics. So it’s easy to recommend their Chopin Trio. The group has taken another early Chopin, the
which used to be a showpiece for cellist Emanuel Feuermann, and rearranged it for trio. I foresaw more problems with that procedure than I actually heard. Occasionally the violin seems to double parts and, less often if I am hearing it correctly, a melody line is assigned to the higher instrument. Of course that changes Chopin, but I am surprised other trios haven’t thought of doing something similar.
In my probably minority view, Liszt’s music is either treacly or histrionic, designed to play to the back rows as well as to the beauties in the expensive seats. In his music, Chopin may at times seem to wear his heart on his sleeve; Liszt seems to wear the hearts of others—as trophies. Given my fundamental lack of sympathy for the composer, I was surprised, but not offended, to read about
that the trio has filled “in the piano part somewhat,” as if Liszt’s occasional bouts of musical chasteness involved too much of a sacrifice.
Many listeners will have the Frank-Ma-Ax recording of the Chopin Trio with Yo-Yo Ma’s fine performance of the
This recording provides an alternative to the Chopin works and a passionately played transcription of the Liszt.
FANFARE: Michael Ullman
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