Beethoven: Piano Trio in E flat, Op. 1/1; Piano Trio in B flat, Op. 11 (Gassenhauer); Allegretto in B flat, WoO 39

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COMPOSERS: Beethoven
LABELS: Nimbus
WORKS: Piano Trio in E flat, Op. 1/1; Piano Trio in B flat, Op. 11 (Gassenhauer); Allegretto in B flat, WoO 39
PERFORMER: Vienna Piano Trio
CATALOGUE NO: NI 5508
These beautiful performances should revive even the most jaded listening palate and silence those nay-sayers who continually bang on about the forlorn state of today’s record industry. Beethoven’s E flat Trio, Op. 1/1, a defining waymarker in the evolution of the genre (Haydn’s late, great trios notwithstanding), is magically realised here. This playing displays a stylistic probity and regard for Classical aesthetics that might have seemed drab in less expert and sympathetic hands; the lovely Adagio (one of the young Beethoven’s most inspired movements) is pure balm, and the thematically related outer movements are enticingly fresh-faced. Beethoven’s Op. 11 work, normally heard as a clarinet trio, takes its title Gassenhauer (‘Street-Song’) from its variation finale, which is based on a popular air by Haydn’s godson Joseph Weigl. This reading is equally committed and impressive, and not easily outflanked even by the famous Beaux Arts Trio version on Philips. The B flat Allegretto makes an attractive filler, rounding off one of the finest new chamber discs to come my way thus far this year. Outstanding in every regard. Michael Jameson

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