Trio Stradivari

Wolfgang Amadé Mozart: Complete Piano Trios

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Piano trio is not a genre most typically associated with Mozart's greatest accomplishments. That is not to say that these works are without their merits, simply that they may lack some of the profundity and fluidity associated with some of Mozart's more acclaimed chamber music endeavors such as the string quartets or even piano quartets. Heard here on this CPO recording of the complete piano trios, the Trio Stradivari goes to great length to give listeners an authentic performance on period instruments to persuade greater respect for these compositions. However, playing on period instruments does not in and of itself assure an enjoyable performance. In this instance, the sound quality of each of the instruments is unappealing. The two fortepianos used are the guiltiest of poor sound quality, sounding more like a cross between a harpsichord and an old-west saloon piano. This certainly does not have to be the case; many period fortepianos -- including Mozart's own -- are perfectly capable of producing a warmer, well-rounded sound. As for the performances themselves, the Trio Stradivari does little to excite listeners or hold their attention. From start to finish, it seems more like the three musicians are just going through the paces of playing the notes on the page and not going out of their way to deliver any of the underlying musical worth to their listeners.

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