Lalo’s Piano Trios Nos 1-3

'To step into the world of Lalo's piano trios is a startling experience.'

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COMPOSERS: Edouard Lalo
LABELS: Hyperion
ALBUM TITLE: Lalo Piano Trios Nos 1-3
WORKS: Piano Trios Nos 1-3
PERFORMER: Leonore Piano Trio
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 68113

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To step into the world of Lalo’s piano trios is a startling experience. This is miles from the Symphonie espagnole – one of few pieces of his we hear regularly in concerts these days; and light years even from Saint-Saëns. Lalo brings us, on one level, French Romanticism wound to its tautest: the atmosphere recalls the dark-hued battle scenes of Delacroix or the ferocious side of Balzac. The composer’s great passion, however, was for Schumann, as may be heard in the extreme turbulence and emotional drive of these pieces. Sometimes you feel he is trying to squeeze in the humble medium of the piano trio material that could have flourished happily on full orchestra.

The excellent Leonore Trio certainly give their all in these often exciting and beautiful works, most especially the B minor Trio, No. 2. There’s high virtuosity all round – superb light, dazzling backgrounds from Tim Horton, searing intensity of tone from violinist Benjamin Nabarro and cellist Gemma Rosefield. Now and then you might wonder if they’re overstating the case; but get into the spirit and it’s terrific stuff.

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Jessica Duchen