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Röntgen: Piano Trios, Vol. 1 - Storioni Trio

Röntgen: Piano Trios, Vol. 1 - Storioni Trio

Ars Produktion  ARS 38 031

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Chamber


Julius Röntgen: Piano Trio No. 6 in C minor Op. 50, Piano Trio No. 9 in F minor "Post tenebras lux", Piano Trio No. 10 in A major "Gaudeamus"

Storioni Trio

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Review by Mark Novak - August 15, 2008

If you are a fan of late romantic chamber music, then this release is a must for your collection. Julius Rontgen's music has been getting increasing exposure on records in recent years and I have been an avid fan of all of these releases. To date, this Piano Trios recording is the first such release on SACD and it is a wonderful recording. To be fair, Rontgen's music does not place in the first tier of composers like Brahms or Schumann (as random examples of his style) but I would place him right below those composers for creating enjoyable, tuneful and exciting works. Based on when he composed (born 1855 and died 1932), he is a bit of a throwback to an earlier era (hence the comparison to Brahms and Schumann) but he does mix in some surprising chromatic elements from time to time that reveal his compositional milieu (e.g. the final movement of the Trio No. 10). Rontgen was a prolific composer in most instrumental genres with 650 compositions to his name. He wrote 12 piano trios for the coventional piano-violin-cello combination.

Two of the three trios on this disc (Nos. 9 & 10)appear to be premiere recordings. the Trio No.6 had a previous outing on an NM Classcis CD but the Storioni performance and recording is clearly superior to that one. The playing on this SACD is fantastic. I also have their performances of the Beethoven Piano Trios on Pentatone and found their playing there to be exciting and enjoyable. For music that they are likely unfamiliar with the Storioni make a convincing case for Rontgen's music.

The sonics are just about perfect. Recorded in a church, the acoustic does not overwhelm the ensemble but provides a clear, close-up and accurate tonal picture of each instrument. Extraneous noises are essentially absent. If I had one nit to pick, it would be that the low end could have been just a bit more full - but please don't let that very minor critisism prevent you from buying this wonderful recording.

The other disappointment I have is related to the notes included with the release. They do present a lot of useful information about Rontgen but they fail to note that Rontgen composed 12 piano trios (to give us an idea of how much more we might expect to come - this is labeled Vol. 1). I truly hope we get the remaining works by the Storioni.

Note to other SACD companies (e.g. Bis, Pentatone, et.al.): Rontgen wrote 12 string quartets. Can we have them next?

Copyright © 2008 Mark Novak and HRAudio.net

Performance:

Sonics (Stereo):

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