Münchner Klaviertrio / Tilo Widenmeyer

Brahms: Piano Trio, Op. 101; Piano Quartet, Op. 25

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Here are a pair of Brahms chamber works presented, so to speak, in study editions, with straightforward playing that doesn't let the performers' personalities intrude upon (or fill out, depending on your perspective) the musical content. These works were the province of chamber ensembles featuring the likes of Artur Rubinstein, groups that amplified the works' melodic and dramatic content. Here the balance between expression and structure, which many would contend is the essence of Brahms, is carefully maintained, but the playing may be a bit on the proper side for those raised in any number of High Romantic performance traditions. You may prefer the Münchner Piano Trio in the Piano Trio in C minor, Op. 101, one of those late Brahms works in which you feel that just when you're about to get a grip on the motivic structure, there is some detail that throws the whole thing into question. Its outer movements are breathtakingly complex, and the precise playing of this German group helps you pick your way through them. The Piano Quartet in G minor, Op. 25, may need a bit more passion, especially in its finale, but your mileage may vary. Genuin's sound offers no impediment to appreciation.

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