Sunday 4 December 2016

Very fine Schubert indeed from the trio of Andreas Staier, Daniel Sepec and Roel Dieltiens on a new release from Harmonia Mundi

A new release from Harmonia Mundi  brings together fortepianist Andreas Staier , violinist Daniel Sepec  and cellist Roel Dieltiens playing Schubert’s two Piano Trios, Op 99, D898 and Op.100, D929.

HMC 902233.34

On this new recording Andreas Staier plays a fortepiano by Christopher Clarke (1996) after Conrad Graf, Vienna 1827. Daniel Sepec’s violin is a Lorenzo Storioni, Cremona 1780 and Roel Dieltiens plays a violoncello by Marten Cornelissen (1992) after Stradivarius.

There is such a well-balanced sonority from this trio in the Allegro moderato of Schubert’s Trio for piano, violin and cello, Op.99 D898 with a lovely, subtle spring in their step. Andreas Staier brings a lovely fluent piano line around the strings, these players building moments of terrific joie de vivre whilst not missing moments of quieter reflection. A beautifully shaped, gentle Andante un poco mosso follows with these two string players bringing an exquisite texture around the poise of the piano line, wonderfully nuanced.  

There is a wonderfully light and rhythmically sprung Scherzo – Allegro with these players shaping the music brilliantly with a finely drawn trio section, finding many subtleties in dynamics and tempo. The Rondo - Allegro vivace brings fine flexible, varying tempo and dynamics with some lovely string sonorities as the music develops.  Andreas Staier provides such a beautiful touch, at turns poetic and at other times dynamic and incisive before some quite beautifully controlled bars towards the coda.

Staier, Sepec and Dieltiens conclude the first disc with a really rather fine performance of Schubert’s Nocturne Op. 148 D897. The strings draw the most gorgeous textures and sonorities over a limpid piano accompaniment with wonderfully done, subtle pizzicato phrases. All three players show wonderful control, rising through the more dynamic passages where the Staier produces a terrific tone over which the strings bring vibrant textures.

A really lovely performance.  

The second disc is given over to Schubert’s Trio for piano, violin and cello, Op.100 D929 where those fine string textures combine with a lovely fortepiano tone to open the Allegro. There are passages of fine rubato with moments of lovely tranquillity. Staier brings some beautifully fluent, pointed, articulate phrases over string passages of great finesse, this trio shaping passages of great character.  Later there are more beautifully fluid fortepiano passages over sensitively done string phrases, moments of exquisite fleeting poetry before an intensely fast and fluent passage leads to the coda.

The Andante con moto brings some lovely, so very Schubertian staccato fortepiano phrases over which the cello adds a mournful line, finding a lovely tone. They provide a real sense of anticipation when the fortepiano takes the theme over string phrases, yet soon slackening the tension to find a lovely gentle flow.  When the opening idea returns they bring a subtly freer nature. Tension and stress are never far away, soon rising with great passion until reaching a brooding passage that seems unable to decide which way to go, jollity or darkness, only to reach an ambiguous, hushed coda.

These players provide a lovely lightness of touch in the buoyant Scherzando. Allegro moderato, moving through moments of brilliantly textured playing.  Staier delivers some particularly vibrant playing in the peasant style dance theme, using the extra features on his 5 pedalled fortepiano to great effect, with bells and drum effects adding to the more dynamic passages.

There is a finely poised Allegro moderato with a light, good natured melody that is woven quite beautifully by this trio through passages where they bring some fine detail and delicacy, finding Schubert’s wit and verve. They build the movement especially well, finding a subtly darker edge as the cello plays a rather mournful variation over the fortepiano, achieving a constantly varying emotional balance. Staier bring some particularly lovely, rhythmic phrasing with a fine sway against well sprung string playing, through a fast, fluent passage before a wonderfully buoyant coda.

These performances rise above any issues of preference between modern and period instruments. This is very fine Schubert indeed from a real partnership of instrumentalists. They receive a very fine recording from the Teldex Studio, Berlin, Germany and there are excellent booklet notes

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