Gryphon Trio

Beethoven: piano Trios Op. 1, No. 2; Op. 97 "Archduke"

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Quebec's Analekta label, at least in the copy received for review, seemingly dropped the ball in preparing this release by one of Canada's top chamber ensembles. In the Beethoven Piano Trio in G major, Op. 1/2, the two final movements are reversed, both on the disc and in the tracklist timings. It's true that this was an error that didn't originate with the performers themselves, but a last-minute review, either by them or by a trusted associate, was certainly in order. That said, these are worthwhile performances of two standard items in the repertory of chamber music with piano. Violinist Annalee Patipatanakoon and cellist Roman Borys, who are married, studied with pianist Menahem Pressler of the Beaux Arts Trio, and these Beethoven readings may remind listeners of that classic group. They take their time in expansive sonata movements, carefully shaping phrases like the rush of emotion beginning the finale of the Piano Trio in B flat major, Op. 97, "Archduke," but not eliminating strong, infections forward momentum where that is central to the music, as in the misplaced finale of the G major trio. They achieve strong contrasts between bright passages and more reflective ones without departing from basically even-keeled readings, and that speaks to their strong sense of ensemble and overall control over line. The "Archduke" trio begins extremely circumspectly; in the trio's generally acclaimed concerts the effect should be compelling, but on disc it's a bit abrupt. The playing in general has an elusive and very appealing quality of investigation into the deeper layers of the music, but make sure you get a copy on which the tracks are properly ordered. Notes are in English and French.

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