Berwald: Piano Trio No. 4 in C; Piano Trio in C (1845)

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COMPOSERS: Berwald
LABELS: Naxos
WORKS: Piano Trio No. 4 in C; Piano Trio in C (1845)
PERFORMER: Kálmán Dráfi (piano), Jozsef Modrian (violin), György Kertész (cello)
CATALOGUE NO: 8.555002 Reissue (1993)
Given the neglect of Berwald’s symphonies in the 1840s, it is hardly surprising that his inspiration sought an outlet in chamber music in the 1850s. Naxos has already given us the first three numbered Piano Trios (1849-51), albeit from a different partnership, and the present release gives us his first thoughts in the medium, the C major Trio (1845) together with his last, the Piano Trio No. 4, also in C (1853). In all, Berwald composed five trios, plus the two sizeable fragments which are offered here. One was originally intended for the Trio No. 1 in E flat and the other in C major is a reworking, made in about 1850, of the unnumbered C major piece. The Fourth Piano Trio serves as a reminder that the symphonies were not alone in having to wait for posthumous recognition. It was not until 1896 before it was published – in Copenhagen, not Stockholm. The present performances first appeared in the early Nineties on Marco Polo and are vital and alert, and now that the excellent Seraphim Trio is no longer available, they have the field to themselves. Not great music but, as always with Berwald, intelligent and well-fashioned. Bright and well detailed recorded sound. Robert Layton

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