Both Johannes Brahms and Bedrich Smetana began their first chamber works -- a piano trio -- at about the same time. Smetana's rapidly completed contribution followed on the heels of the untimely, devastating death of his daughter. Brahms wrote and published his B major trio with equal alacrity. Unlike Smetana, however, Brahms made the unusual decision to revisit and make sweeping changes to his trio some 30 years after its original publication. The ultimate version -- the one most commonly performed and the one heard on this album -- is indeed a work of mature refinement and advanced sophistication. The Weiss-Kaplan-Newman Trio brings a fresh sense of spontaneity and fluidity to their performances of both these great piano trios. Each of the Trio's members are established and successful solo performers in their own right, yet when playing together there's a true sense of unity and collaboration. A single musical vision is put forth. A great deal of tempo fluctuation finds its way into these performances, but this is done in a very natural, organic way that is neither jarring nor indulgent. Their sound is rich and meaty, well-balanced between the strings and piano, and nicely matched for timbre. Weiss-Kaplan-Newman is generally a technically solid group, though intonation occasionally strays within the strings when playing in octaves or unison.
AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Piano Trio in B major, Op. 8|
|Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 15|