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R. Schumann: Piano Trios, Vol. 2

R. Schumann: Piano Trios, Vol. 2

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After its first album devoted to Schumann’s first two piano trios, the Kungsbacka Piano Trio now presents the conclusion of this series with the Piano Trio No. 3 in G minor, to which they add the Six Studies in Canonic Form, originally for pedal piano and performed here in an arrangement for piano trio, and an early work, the Quartet in C minor for violin, viola, cello and piano, which was only published in 1979. Composed in 1851, the third Piano Trio achieves the tonal balance Schumann was aiming for with an utmost independence of the three instruments while having ‘obsessive impulses’ running through it, to quote pianist Simon Crawford-Phillips. The Six Studies in Canonic Form that follow appear as small contrapuntal jewels that testify to Robert Schumann’s keen interest in Johann Sebastian Bach’s Preludes and Fugues. Finally, the Quartet composed when Schumann was 18 reveals a wildly creative mind at work, inspired in turn by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Chopin. Yet, despite these influences, one perceives a distinctive voice that reveals the obsessive qualities that would characterise Schumann’s later works. “A thrilling ride for performer and listener”, promises Crawford-Phillips.

REVIEW:

In Schumann’s Piano Trio 3 in G minor, the Kungsbacka Trio is precise and spry for the entire 26 minutes, and the sound quality is pristine. These musicians find an elegance in the composer that other artists sometimes miss.

The 6 Studies in Canonical Form appear here in their transcription for trio by Theodor Kirchner. The quality is high, but just a few might have sufficed.

The Piano Quartet in C minor is from 1829, making it one of Schumann’s very first attempts at composition. He never finished the piano parts, and so they are completed here by musicologist Joachim Draheim. The Minuet is especially lighthearted, with pianist Simon Crawford-Phillips leading the way. At 33 minutes, this piece is a bit long, with many mercurial shifts of mood and dynamics. Still, this is an impressive album, a happy meeting of performers and material.

-- American Record Guide

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 1
    • Release Date:
    • Label: BIS
    • UPC/Barcode: 7318599924779
    • Item Number: BIS-2477