Lalo: Piano Trio No. 1 in C minor; Piano Trio No. 2 in B minor; Piano Trio No. 3 in A minor

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COMPOSERS: Lalo
LABELS: Meridian
WORKS: Piano Trio No. 1 in C minor; Piano Trio No. 2 in B minor; Piano Trio No. 3 in A minor
PERFORMER: Trio Salomon
CATALOGUE NO: CDE 84437
The chamber music of Lalo, a Frenchman of Spanish descent, actually has far more in common with German music than that of his compatriots. The three piano trios often seem closer to Schubert or Schumann than to Gounod or Franck, and there would seem to be little point in even mentioning Fauré. However, lest Francophiles are tempted to be a bit sniffy about the significance of Lalo’s contribution to the French tradition, it should be noted that his enthusiasm and persistence were largely responsible for reviving an interest in chamber music in the 1850s at a time when Parisians were obsessed by opera and ballet. He was also a founder-member of the Armingaud Quartet, formed specifically to increase awareness of the works of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and even Schumann and Mendelssohn.

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The piano trio was almost entirely neglected in France before Lalo’s three contributions to the genre. They possess an integrity of spirit and contain many sublime moments. The exquisitely heartfelt playing of the Trio Salomon fits these works like a glove. For instance, they convey every emotional nuance of the second Trio’s Andante without losing the perspective of the whole, making them convincing advocates of these all too rarely heard works. Christopher Dingle