LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
WORKS: Pierné: Piano Trio in C minor, Op. 45; Fauré: Piano Trio in D minor, Op. 120
PERFORMER: Trio Wanderer
CATALOGUE NO: HMC 902192
Did Pierné know after World War I that the artistic world had apparently changed? Did anybody at the time? He is one of those composers who was sidelined when the commonly espoused narrative of musical history tidied the rather messier reality. His Piano Trio, first heard in 1922, does not fit the easily grasped tale of artists rejecting the pre-First World War aesthetic. Pierné’s approach reconciles the architecture and emotional punch of Franck with knowledge of Debussy and Ravel’s mature works.
As is clear from this excellent performance by the Trio Wanderer, the reason Pierné’s Trio is not better known is fashion rather than quality. The rhythmic restlessness of its opening is matched in more playful style by the middle movement, and transformed again in the easy-going yet ultimately rousing inventiveness of the final theme and variations.
Fauré’s wryly elegiac Piano Trio from a year later is a highly effective partner. By this stage in his career the composer certainly did not care about fashion, yet, despite its interior nature, this music remains quietly compelling, especially as played here. The Trio Wanderer beautifully sustain the understated conversational lyricism of the slow movement. They are equally sure-footed in negotiating the two seemingly incompatible musical threads of the final movement so that, no matter how unlikely, Fauré’s final exultant flourishes feel both inevitable and right for any era.