Chaminade: Piano Trio No. 1 in G minor; Piano Trio No. 2 in A minor; Ritournelle; Serenade; Pastorale enfantine; Serenade espagnole

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COMPOSERS: Chaminade
LABELS: ASV
WORKS: Piano Trio No. 1 in G minor; Piano Trio No. 2 in A minor; Ritournelle; Serenade; Pastorale enfantine; Serenade espagnole
PERFORMER: Tzigane Piano Trio
CATALOGUE NO: CD DCA 965
Chaminade’s Second Trio is a real find. She wrote it in 1887 at the peak of her initial career, before she turned touring virtuoso. Big-hearted, muscular and cogent, it occupies a highly personable middle ground between Fauré and Brahms, and makes magnificent use of her gift for long, lyrical paragraphs.

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She shows a flair for leavening her arguments with a robustly balanced diversity of episodes, then delivers a finale that intensifies as it gathers the threads. In her earlier Trio the stance is similar, her material extensive and modally inflected, the forms compact rather than dramatic. Its scherzo glints with cross-rhythms and ear-tickling pace.

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All this is miles away from the old patronising image of Chaminade, and suggests the many works from her twenties and thirties should be further researched. The Tzigane responds with gusto, a shade heavily. The short pieces, arranged mostly by the pianist, can evoke Edwardian teatimes. But Chaminade shares Elgar’s touch with light music, and the palm court would be covered by scones dropped in delight. Robert Maycock