Mendelssohn did not turn to the piano trio until he was already 30 years of age (late in life when considering his tragically short life) and although he only wrote two such works, they have since not only become cornerstones of the piano trio repertoire but stand as some of his most frequently played chamber works in general. Of the two, the first, in D minor, is the most popular and easily recognized. Despite their respective keys of D and C minor, both trios are rather vivacious upbeat. The piano parts are profoundly difficult to execute, with a nearly constant current of rapid passagework. After several other successful forays into standard and not-so-standard repertoire, the Mendelssohn Piano Trio finally comes around to record the works of their namesake in this 2009 Centaur release. Overall, their performance is quite solid and enjoyable. Special kudos should be given to pianist Ya-Ting Chang for her brilliant, clear, and nimble execution of her part. The trio blends their sound together nicely and performs with a light-hearted Romantic sensibility that is perfectly suited to Mendelssohn. Tempos in the D minor trio are nice and brisk, while there are surprising moments in the C minor trio (particularly the Scherzo) where the tempo choice seems less driven than it could be. Still, the ensemble does honor to their namesake, and this album is a reliable introduction to his music.
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AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 49|
|Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor, Op. 66|