Wolf-Ferrari: String Trio in B minor; String Trio in A minor; Duo in G minor, Op. 33b; Introduzione e balletto, Op. 35

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COMPOSERS: Wolf-Ferrari
LABELS: CPO
WORKS: String Trio in B minor; String Trio in A minor; Duo in G minor, Op. 33b; Introduzione e balletto, Op. 35
PERFORMER: German String Trio
CATALOGUE NO: 999 624-2
Wolf-Ferrari’s reputation as an opera composer has rather overshadowed the success of his other works. However, in a letter from 1947 to his student Mark Lothar, the composer reveals a special affection for chamber music. Years of deprivation in 1945 and 1946 led Wolf-Ferrari to recall the rosier days of his youth. As he wrote to Lothar, ‘I have returned to my oldest love, to my chamber music, which I cultivated before my opera composition.’

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The German String Trio’s warmly recorded affectionate performance of the, albeit fragmentary, B minor Trio (1894) on this new release raises serious questions as to why this piece has never been recorded before. The first movement’s fresh, youthful urgency, the tender lyricism in the second and the evocative atmosphere in the neatly woven scherzo confirm the feeling that this music should be better known.

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These German musicians reveal the bitter-sweet poignancy embodied in the opposition of lively irony and wistful melody with touching charm in the G minor Duo and A minor Trio from Wolf-Ferrari’s troubled later years. An aptly perfumed account of the Introduzione e Balletto brings this concert to an engaging and upbeat conclusion with vivid images of a Venetian piazza cafe scene. Nicholas Rast