Trio Parnassus

Benjamin Godard: Complete Piano Trios

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Best-known (and for many, only known) for his opera Jocelyn, French composer Benjamin Godard produced an abundance of music in his short 45-year life that is rarely performed. Among his forgotten works are two piano trios, written in 1880 and 1884. Compared to other works in the genre from the same time period, Godard's trios are certainly lacking in the same level of sophistication, gravitas, or stand-alone ability on a concert program. Still, the two trios heard on this MDG Gold album are melodically pleasing, possessing rich, non-progressive Romantic harmonies. The finale of the F major sonata is among the more exciting moments, with its intense rhythmic drive and pizzicato strings. Chamber music aficionados will certainly find merit to these works. The Trio Parnassus, who has undertaken many projects to revitalize long-forgotten literature, comes to Godard's rescue here. Having successfully breathed new life into the trios of Lalo, Korngold, Vasks, and the like, Trio Parnassus has a track record of taking slightly less interesting works and imbuing them with a sense of commitment, attention to detail, forward momentum, broad-ranging dynamics, and measured sentimentality. The resulting performance here is one of respect for the score and the composer, polished technical skills, nice balance, and a sense of true chamber music collaboration. Listeners seeking to expand their repertoire will do well with this and other installments by the Trio Parnassus.

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