Beethoven: String Trios, Op. 3 & Op. 9/1-3; Serenade in D, Op. 8

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COMPOSERS: Beethoven
WORKS: String Trios, Op. 3 & Op. 9/1-3; Serenade in D, Op. 8
PERFORMER: Trio Italiano D’Archi
CATALOGUE NO: 459 466-2 ADD Reissue (1970)
Beethoven’s string trios may have been his form of preparing for a career as a quartet composer, but they are in no way mere apprentice works – indeed, the Op. 3 Trio (lovingly modelled on Mozart’s great trio Divertimento, K563) and the three Op. 9 Trios are masterpieces in their own right. It would be difficult to imagine this altogether entrancing, and often profound, music more captivatingly played than here. In the 30 years since these performances were first issued there have been several other recordings of this repertoire (one of them featuring the same viola player, Bruno Giuranna, in the glitzier company of Anne-Sophie Mutter and Rostropovich), but none more alive to every nuance of the music. Only the recent version by the young Leopold Trio matches the freshness and sheer accomplishment of the Trio Italiano’s playing, but it is considerably more expensive. This new reissue should not be missed. Misha Donat