WORKS: Piano Trio in G (Gypsy Rondo), Hob XV:25; Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor; Porgy and Bess Suite (arr. Bateman)
CATALOGUE NO: DMH CD1 DDD (distr. Koch)
The piano trio Kammerspiel gave their debut recital in 1993, and have a commitment to ‘widening the approach of the piano trio’, citing as an example this arrangement of music from Porgy and Bess. Thus it is that this disc contains an odd mixture of repertoire, making for an arbitrary compilation, though balanced in much the same manner as a lunchtime festival concert.
There are grounds for believing that the best of Mendelssohn is in the chamber music. This fine performance certainly serves the composer well; the beautiful Andante is lovingly phrased, while the Allegros abound in lively activity.
The ensemble’s pianist, Paul Bateman, made the arrangement of Porgy and Bess which completes the disc. It claims to be ‘a journey through the opera’, in which the cello takes Porgy’s part and the violin that of Bess. Enjoyable though it is, I question the value of this recording; the arrangement would work well in live performance, but at home one can hear the opera instead. The sound has a ‘big-toned’ focus, appropriate to Haydn, while the documentation is thin and somewhat slipshod. Terry Barfoot