Schubert: Piano Trio in E flat D929; Sonata Movement D28

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COMPOSERS: Schubert
LABELS: Virgin Veritas
WORKS: Piano Trio in E flat D929; Sonata Movement D28
PERFORMER: Castle Trio
CATALOGUE NO: VC 7 59303 2 DDD
Surprisingly, this new issue from the Castle Trio appears to offer the only available version of Schubert’s E flat Piano Trio on authentic instruments. Moreover, it maintains the high standards set by the pianist, Lambert Orkis, on his recent fine recording of Schubert piano works. The delicate intimacy of the Castle reading is immediately apparent. This is due partly to the closeness of the recording and partly to the instruments themselves and the care with which this group approach Schubert’s music. The Graf-copy piano has plenty of depth and sweetness of tone, and the overall effect is enhanced by sensitive balance. However, the playing here is, if anything, a bit too well done. The prevailing mood seems amiable and charming at the expense of the music’s passion.

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Like the Beaux Arts Trio (Philips) and the Trieste Trio (Nuova Era), the Castle include the Sonatensatz D28. Notwithstanding those immaturities of its composer which prevented Brahms from publishing this piece in the original collected edition, it is an affecting work and the playing winningly captures the vigour and enthusiasm of the 15-year-old Schubert. Overall, this is an attractive period-instrument version of this repertoire. Nicholas Rast