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CD Review

Ludwig van Beethoven

The Complete Music for Piano Trio - Volume 4

  • Piano Trio in C minor, Op. 1 #3
  • Variations in E Flat Major, Op. 44
  • Piano Trio in B Flat Major, Op. 11
The Florestan Trio
Hyperion CDA67466 61m DDD
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Beethoven's chamber music has been extremely well served over the years with some legendary recordings from a number of classic ensembles. However, this recent series of the Piano Trios by the Florestan Trio have definitely reassigned our assessment of the master's contributions to the genre. This fourth volume has been most eagerly awaited and it proves to be a winner through and through.

The Piano Trio in C minor is a four movement work and the previous excellent recommendation was the ageing Philips recording with the Beaux Arts Trio. The Florestan Trio plays with uninhibited passion in this work, bringing particular beauty and a haunting loveliness to the Andante cantabile adding raw energy and passion to the final Prestissimo. This is definitely the recording to have, as far as this trio is concerned.

I also enjoyed the Florestan Trio's interpretation of the B flat major Piano Trio Op. 11 which finds the composer in slightly more mature mood. After an imposing Allegro con brio and a serene Adagio, the real surprise comes with the Theme and Variations on 'Pria ch'io l'impegno from Weigl's 'L'amor marinaro, a really delightful departure from the norm.

Hyperion has provided this talented ensemble with a fine recording that provides just the right balance between the instruments. Those chamber music enthusiasts who have already snapped up the earlier volumes will be in no doubt that this is another essential disc for their collection.

Copyright © 2004, Gerald Fenech