B3 Classic Trio

Autumn

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Late in their lives, Brahms and Bruch shared many commonalities. Both composers were resolute in their adherence to classical traditions, rejecting the new and innovative trends of the time. Both, at some point, had stopped composing only to be brought back again to write some of their greatest chamber works. It is fitting, then, that this Non Profit Music album -- aptly entitled Autumn -- should feature the Op. 114 Clarinet Trio of Brahms and the Op. 83 Eight Pieces of Bruch, scored originally for clarinet, viola, and piano, but often performed with the cello substituting for the viola. While the Brahms trio is one of the most celebrated compositions in the repertoire, Bruch's contribution is frequently overlooked and rarely performed. The B3 Classic Trio makes every effort to place these two veteran works on a level playing field. Musically, it is successful. The order presents the Eight Pieces makes a great deal of sense, with one flowing logically into the next. The Brahms is sweeping and majestic. Technically, however, B3 falls a bit short of the ideal. The principal issue lies with cellist David Johnstone, whose tone is often quite forced and thin. What's more, Johnstone and clarinetist Joan BorrĂ s fail to consistently line up their intonation, a real problem given the frequency of octaves or unisons in the Bruch.

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