COMPOSERS: Clara Schumann/Saint-Sa‘ns
WORKS: Piano Trio in G minor; Piano Trio No. 1 in F
CATALOGUE NO: CDE 84355
Clara Schumann was an extraordinary musician: a pianist with an international reputation and an accomplished composer. However, she will always be best known as the wife of the great Robert Schumann: the small extent of her creative output surely relates to the fact that she bore him nine children. The G minor Trio was introduced in Vienna in 1860, 36 years before her death. The music is elegant and sounds very much of its time. The movements are well balanced and receive a sensitive performance, though one wonders if the work might contain a greater range of dramatic contrast.
Saint-Saëns’s Trio in F is an early piece (Op. 18 out of 169). The effortless fluency of the music recalls Berlioz’s observation that the young composer ‘lacked nothing except inexperience’. There seems room for more rhythmic vitality in the outer movements than this performance offers, but the slow movement is particularly engaging. The three players imaginatively sustain the music’s eloquent line, responding to the subtle ebb and flow of development with careful attention to dynamic shadings. The recorded sound is generally pleasing, but lacks detailed focus; the same might be said of the performances. Terry Barfoot