Brahms: Piano Trios 1 & 3 - Vienna Piano Trio
MDG Gold 942 2008-6
Classical - Chamber
Brahms: Piano Trios 1 (1854 version) & 3
Vienna Piano Trio
What a fortunate circumstance! Although Johannes Brahms destroyed all his sketches, drafts, and early versions and many of his works, the Trio in B major Op. 8 managed to survive his pyromaniac verdicts. A comparative study of the youthful and romantic first version and the tightly constructed late version of this masterpiece offers a most highly interesting insight into Brahms’s artistic development. Thirty-five years later, however, he thoroughly revised it. Along with the Trio in C minor Op. 101, the early version rounds off the Vienna Piano Trio’s complete recording of this great composer’s piano trios – now heard for the first time in full in the latest three-dimensional Super Audio CD quality.
The cello theme opening the Trio Op. 8 numbers among the most beautiful music ever composed by Brahms. His friend Joseph Joachim, the premiere violinist, must have been very envious. The young Brahms evidently composed a few extras for the violin to keep him happy – and then systematically eliminated them from the late version!
It is easy enough to understand why it was that the mature Brahms would have thought that the expansive breadth of this work of his youth went too far. After all, he paid increasing attention to the reduction of his music to formal essentials. However, contemporaries like Clara Schumann – possibly the faraway love to whom his allusions to Beethoven’s “Ferne Geliebte,” later eliminated, may have referred – regretted his interventions.
The Trio in C minor Op. 101 is the later Brahms as we know him: artistry of the highest concentration meets popular music from the Austro-Hungarian Empire – nobody has ever done it better! It must have been his incomparably sovereign treatment of the classical form that earned this work an enthusiastic response from Clara Schumann after she had studied it. Joachim too told his friend that he had hardly ever composed anything more beautiful.
Here the Vienna Piano Trio is of course in its element. It is absolutely fascinating how these three full-blooded musicians convey the Viennese and Hungarian flair of these works. The high-resolution Super Audio CD is also perfectly balanced and offers a crystal-clear stereo sound as well as a breathtaking listening experience in three-dimensional multichannel technology – musical pleasure representing the highest level!
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