Hiromi Okada / Peter Schmidl / Lars Michael Stransky

Brahms: Trio for Horn, Violin and Piano; Trio for Clarinet, Violoncello and Piano

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This Camerata disc contains as beautiful and idiomatic a pair of Brahms performances as are likely to be found on disc. The Horn Trio that opens the disc features Lars Michael Stransky, first hornist of the Wiener Philharmoniker since 1993, and Peter Wächter, a violinist in the same orchestra since 1963, while the Clarinet Trio that closes the disc features Peter Schmidl, solo clarinetist with the Philharmoniker since 1968, and Tamás Varga, solo cellist with both the Philharmoniker and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra since 1998. Stransky's heroic technique, mellow tone, and soulful interpretation suits the Horn Trio perfectly, and Schmidl's effortless technique, pungent tone, and sorrowful interpretation fit the Clarinet Trio equally well. If there is a weak link in both performances, it is pianist Hiromi Okada who, though he is a more than adequate player, sometimes seems outclassed by his fellow musicians. Still, he hangs in there, and his playing never detracts from the overall excellence of what's happening around him. Recorded in Vienna in 2002 and 2004, Camerata's digital sound is lush, deep, and warm.

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