Tuesday 24 November 2015

Spectacularly fine performances from the Swiss Piano Trio in their second volume of Beethoven Piano Trios for Audite

Surely one of the finest piano trios around today is the Swiss Piano Trio www.swisspianotrio.ch whose members are Angela Golubeva (violin), Sébastien Singer (cello) and Martin Lucas Staub (piano).

They have already made a number of major contributions to the CD catalogue with recordings for Audite of trios by Mendelssohn, Clara & Robert Schumann, Tchaikovsky and Franck. Earlier this year they released the first in their series of complete piano trios of Beethoven.

Now from Audite www.audite.de  comes Volume II in their Beethoven series that features the Piano Trio No.2 in G Major and the Piano Trio No. 5 in D Major ‘Ghost’.

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This trio bring a beautifully shaped opening to the Adagio - Allegro vivace of Piano Trio No.2 in G Major, Op. 1 No.2 bringing just the right amount of dynamic stress on the forte and fortissimo chords. They provide a beautifully controlled rubato before rising into the allegro, full of brio and spirit, catching Beethoven’s youthful exuberance. These players bring playing of superb precision, wonderfully intuitive playing with some particularly fluent passages and incisive but beautifully toned string playing. They weave a long flowing line right through this movement bringing much characterful playing.

The Largo con espressione brings a lovely gentle piano opening, so thoughtfully shaped by Martin Lucas Staub before the strings enter to provide a gentle, flowing undulating melody, forming a lovely, intensely poetic vision. There is some exquisite hushed playing as they bring an often plaintive beauty to this movement with little surges of stronger emotion. Beautifully done.

There is a fine rhythmic pulse to the Scherzo. Allegro, again beautifully shaped with fine precision between these players and more of that lovely rubato. There is a real joy in their playing with a quite lovely trio section and a beautifully shaped flow throughout right to the gentle coda.  

The Finale. Presto shoots off with some absolutely superb, fast and brilliantly fluent playing. There are so many fine little string details revealed, some lovely hushed piano phrases as well as much spirit. 

This is a spectacularly fine performance.

There is a brilliantly incisive opening to the Allegro vivace e con brio of Piano Trio No. 5 in D Major, Op. 70 No.1 ‘Ghost’ before the music gains a flow, these players still finding all the stormy quality.  They bring some moments of restrained energy, a feeling that the music is always trying to burst.  There is playing of great power, fire and drive, capturing that Beethovenian spirit with remarkable accuracy between players. They reveal almost schizophrenic changes between quieter withdrawn moments and the more fiery passages.  There are some lovely hushed little string tones before rising to peaks of more joy. It is lovely the way they lift the music in the little climaxes before the most exquisite piano phrases lead to the coda.

The Largo assai ed espressivo brings lovely, long drawn hushed string phrases over which the piano brings its gentle motif before the strings take up the theme, the piano adding terrific bite and drama. There are passages of lovely, thoughtful, quiet reflection with a terrific dialogue between players. They build certain passages superbly as the music slowly and steadily increases in dynamics before a rather questioning coda.

This trio bring a crispness to the opening of the Presto with lovely little phrases before taking off, full of energy and power. As they alternate with passages of more repose they find perfectly Beethoven’s changeable moods, through the most fiery, brilliantly played passages bringing a real volatility. This is tremendously impressive playing, bringing some fine sonorities before the resolute coda.

This is another impressive performance.

This Beethoven series promises to be an exciting venture. The recording, made at the Kunsthalle Ziegelhutte, Appenzell, Switzerland, successfully used for this trio’s Mendelssohn disc, though having a slight resonance, is still very good.

There are excellent booklet notes.

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