This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
Mendelssohn's C minor Trio is a highly original work, one of those which challenge the notion of his powers having declined in his later years. In fact, Mendelssohn never really had any later years. This trio was written early in 1845, just over two years before his death at the age of 38; and it is characteristic of him in its formal subtlety within apparently classical outlines, and in its skilful reconciliation of baroque with romantic.
The Beaux Arts Trio emphasize the romantic: they maintain a sense of turbulence throughout the first movement, with its running octave figure and edgy chords; the beautiful Andante espressivo is tenderly handled, without sentimentality; and the Scherzo is swift and sudden, charged with
energy. Compared with the Fontenay Trio (Teldec), they are richer and more responsive to the music's latent unease, less so to its elegance. It is the more interesting performance, as is that of Smetana's G minor Trio. The old Suk version (Supraphon, dating from 1968) is not so serious an alternative as the Fontenay, who play it admirably but at times somewhat hectically. The underlying programme is indeed desperate—it was in response to the death of a beloved daughter—but the despair is the more powerfully expressed for being contained. The Fontenay emphasize extremes of experience, and their performance is vivid and affecting; that of the Beaux Arts is stronger and more idiomatic.
The Fontenays' Smetana coupling is Chopin's G minor Trio; their Mendelssohn coupling is his D minor Trio. These choices may well be decisive; but those who like the idea of having Mendelssohn's C minor and Smetana's G minor, two superb pieces of romantic chamber music, will surely enjoy the Beaux Arts record.
-- Gramophone [6/1992]
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