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Schubert: Trios 1 & 2 / R. Capuçon, G. Capuçon, Braley


Release Date: 04/03/2007 
Label:  Virgin Classics   Catalog #: 65476   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz Schubert
Performer:  Gautier CapuçonRenaud CapuçonFrank Braley
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 39 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



SCHUBERT Piano Trios: No. 1 in B?, D 898; No. 2 in E?, D 929; Sonatensatz in B?, D 28; Notturno in E?, D 897 Frank Braley (pn); Renaud Capuçon (vn); Gautier Capuçon (vc) VIRGIN 65476 (2 CDs: 98:51)


The last few decades have seen a flurry of interest in the Schubert piano trios; most Read more established trio ensembles have recorded them (e.g., Beaux Arts, Vienna Piano Trio, Fontenay), along with groups made up of prominent individual artists—Schneider/Casals/Istomin, Zukerman/Harrell/Ashkenazy, Bylsma/Beths/Immerseel, etc.


Joining the latter group is the trio of fine French artists, the brothers Capuçon and the pianist Frank Braley , who have been performing and recording together, and display an ensemble of congenial unity. They are all young: Braley is the oldest, at 39; Renaud Capuçon is 31, and his brother Gautier is just 21. All three have won prizes in major international competitions—Braley most startlingly by taking first prize in the Queen Elisabeth competition in 1991 in his first venture into that keenly brutal arena of high-profile competitions.


Braley’s playing sets a high benchmark; he is a consummate pianist, but there is nothing of the showman in his performance. Elegance and taste are the words that spring to mind. He is armed with a full range of effective technical devices; he is brilliant, precise, and at the same time capable of the most feathery and crystalline sound, as he demonstrates throughout the trios during extended passages of delicate interplay between piano and strings. Most important, Braley puts himself at the service of the music, playing with restraint and sensitivity, without exaggeration, always aware of the give and take of the ensemble.


The string-playing is very much in a French tradition—vibrato is limited, and the sound is lean and a bit dry; it works very well in Schubert by avoiding the kind of excess that leads to mushy sentimentality. (In a previously reviewed CD of Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet with the same performers (28:5) I was critical of the violinist’s wiry sound, but have revised my opinion, finding it completely appropriate for the trios.)


Among the virtues of these performances are the excellent tempo choices, which help to make these readings taut rather than overly expansive. Schubert asks for moving tempos in the slow movements (both are marked Andante , but with qualifications—one is un poco mosso , the other con moto ). Especially noteworthy is the haunting atmosphere created by the players in the funereal slow movement of the E? Trio: the weary trudging march of the familiar wanderer who inhabits so much of Schubert’s music, the bleakness of terrain and mood epitomized by the spare, desolate sound of the instruments. The return of this music in the finale, interwoven with the finale theme, is surely one of the most powerful moments in Schubert’s—or any composer’s—works.


Schubert’s complete piano trios are sadly few. One must wonder at the composer’s lack of interest in composing more for piano trio, considering his role as pianist, and his unqualified success in handling the genre in the two big trios. The early B? Sonatensatz , dating from 1812, is a charming piece, but tantalizing brief. The Notturno, from 1827, is a haunting masterpiece, but if, as it appears, it was intended originally as the slow movement for D 898, Schubert was wise to scrap it in favor of the one he finally wrote, which is among his most extraordinary examples of harmonic invention.


In sum, this is pristine playing that does full justice to these Schubert masterpieces. Enthusiastically recommended.


FANFARE: Susan Kagan
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Works on This Recording

1.
Trio for Piano and Strings no 1 in B flat major, D 898/Op. 99 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Gautier Capuçon (Cello), Renaud Capuçon (Violin), Frank Braley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1828; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 09/2006 
Venue:  MC2 Culture House, Grenoble, France 
Length: 39 Minutes 29 Secs. 
2.
Trio for Piano and Strings no 2 in E flat major, D 929/Op. 100 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Renaud Capuçon (Violin), Gautier Capuçon (Cello), Frank Braley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 09/2006 
Venue:  MC2 Culture House, Grenoble, France 
Length: 42 Minutes 43 Secs. 
3.
Trio for Piano and Strings in B flat major, D 28 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Gautier Capuçon (Cello), Renaud Capuçon (Violin), Frank Braley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1812; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 09/2006 
Venue:  MC2 Culture House, Grenoble, France 
Length: 7 Minutes 16 Secs. 
4.
Notturno for Piano and Strings in E flat major, D 897/Op. 148 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Renaud Capuçon (Violin), Gautier Capuçon (Cello), Frank Braley (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1828; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 09/2006 
Venue:  MC2 Culture House, Grenoble, France 
Length: 8 Minutes 40 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Trio for Piano, Violin & Cello No.1 in Bb Major, Op.99 D898: Allegro moderato
Trio for Piano, Violin & Cello No.1 in Bb Major, Op.99 D898: Andante un poco mosso
Trio for Piano, Violin & Cello No.1 in Bb Major, Op.99 D898: Scherzo. Allegro
Trio for Piano, Violin & Cello No.1 in Bb Major, Op.99 D898: Rondo. Allegro vivace
Sonatensatz in B Flat Major D.28
Piano Trio No. 2 in E flat major D.929: I. Allegro
Piano Trio No. 2 in E-Flat Major, D. 929: II. Andante con moto: Schubert: Piano Trio No. 2 in E-Flat Major, D. 929: II. Andante con moto
Piano Trio No. 2 in E flat major D.929: III. Scherzando (Allegro molto) & Trio
Piano Trio No. 2 in E flat major D.929: IV. Allegro moderato
Notturno in E flat major D.897

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