Strauss: Piano Trio No. 1 in A; Piano Trio No. 2 in D

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COMPOSERS: Strauss
LABELS: Capriccio
WORKS: Piano Trio No. 1 in A; Piano Trio No. 2 in D
PERFORMER: Odeon Trio
CATALOGUE NO: 10 820
Everyone’s ransacking the unpublished juvenilia of Richard Strauss these days, and since the well-behaved Bavarian adolescent showed few of the sparks which marked out Mendelssohn or Bizet at a similar age, no revelations are anticipated. Even so, this is a curiously beguiling programme. First we have the 13-year-old, in the A major Piano Trio, neatly bowing to his household gods Mozart, Haydn and Mendelssohn, only to tap a richer vein of feeling in the D major Trio less than a year later.

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Here the flowing, Schubertian – one can hardly say Straussian – exposition has a grace all its own, skewed momentarily by a touch of gruff naughtiness from piano octaves; the Andante cantabile makes an interesting, if brusque, excursion into an unexpected key, and the easy good humour of the scherzo shows a wag-in-waiting. All this is unaffectedly and unstrenuously done by the admirable Odeon Trio, who also make clean, companionable work of the gauche classical vein in the A major work, and bounce the surprise barrel-organ waltz of its finale into life. The disc offers short measure, but then nothing in either trio outstays its welcome. David Nice