Virginie Robilliard / Peter Szabo / Frédéric Vaysse-Knitter

Brahms: Piano Trio, Op. 8; Dvorák: Dumky Trio, Op. 90

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Though possessing a surprisingly low opus number (Op. 8), the B major Piano Trio of Johannes Brahms is in fact from very late in his career. Brahms first began work on the trio, in the unusual key of B major, in 1853 and later published it in 1854. Its current version, however, came about in 1890 when a new "edition" of the work was published that amounted to an almost entirely rewritten piece. In the same year Brahms was finalizing the B major Trio, Dvorák was publishing his Op. 90 Trio in E minor, known commonly as the "Dumky" Trio. Both works represent the seasoned experience of accomplished composers and have assured themselves of a long-lasting place in the canon. Performing on this Hungaroton Classics album is violinist Virginie Robilliard, cellist Péter Szabó, and pianist Frédéric Vaysse-Knitter. Overall, the trio offers listeners a solid, energetic reading of these two great works, though little is done to truly distinguish this disc from the countless other performances available. Intonation in the strings is generally good, though some blemishes can be heard when playing in unison or octaves. Balance within the trio sometimes unduly emphasizes the strings putting the piano in the curious position of struggling for clarity. The middle register of all three instruments is a bit fuzzy and nasal. As an introduction to these pieces, this disc is certainly acceptable, but collectors will not find anything new or noteworthy here.

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