Beethoven: Piano Trio in D, Op. 70/1 (Ghost); Piano Trio in E flat, Op. 70/2

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COMPOSERS: Beethoven
WORKS: Piano Trio in D, Op. 70/1 (Ghost); Piano Trio in E flat, Op. 70/2
PERFORMER: Stuttgart Piano Trio
CATALOGUE NO: 8.550948, 8.550949 DDD
The sudden dynamic contrasts and shivering tremolos in the second movement of Beethoven’s ‘Ghost’ Trio offer vivid manifestations of the technical and interpretative demands of the Op. 70 trios. To my taste, the Stuttgart Trio’s relatively fast tempo in this movement doesn’t fully achieve the music’s spectral quality, although there is plenty of verve and excitement in the faster music. The carefully blended ensemble is particularly well suited to the more intimate E flat Trio, Op. 70/2. Its outer movements are cheerfully engaging; major and minor are powerfully opposed in the Allegretto, and the appealing Schubertian charm of the third movement is winningly caught.


In the ‘Archduke’ Trio, the Stuttgart’s infectious vitality and tautly sprung rhythm is highly compelling. However, once again, a rather fast tempo in the slow movement fails to exploit the music’s dramatic content fully – despite heightened contrast between the music’s basic pulse and the poco più adagio of the fourth variation. The extrovert Kakadu Variations and charming Allegretto WoO39 are excellently played and aptly characterised.


Clear recordings and the inclusion of all repeats (except, curiously, in the third movement of Op. 70/2) add to the attraction of these issues. Nicholas Rast