Schumann: Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor; Piano Trio No. 2 in F

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COMPOSERS: Schumann
LABELS: Virgin Ultraviolet
WORKS: Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor; Piano Trio No. 2 in F
PERFORMER: Grieg Trio
CATALOGUE NO: CUV 5 61313-2
The first two of Schumann’s three trios are featured here; composed during 1847, they are relatively late examples among his chamber works. Listening to them, it seems easy to understand the influence Schumann had on the young Brahms, particularly in the magnificent sweep of the Allegro movements, which set the tone for each work. For these are splendid compositions on the large scale, containing tautly argued development of distinctive material.

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The Grieg Trio performs the music with understanding and sensitivity, though occasionally points of detail do not emerge clearly from within the texture, and the recording might have had a slightly keener focus. Technically demanding passages, such as the eerie and unexpected tremolandi towards the end of the first Trio’s opening movement, hold no dangers for this ensemble, whose performance of the slower music is remarkable in its intensity.

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Certainly this disc is a match for the the rival Borodin Trio two-disc set (Chandos 8832/3), which also includes the third Trio and the Fantasiestücke. Anyone wishing to explore the music of this great composer need not hesitate. Terry Barfoot