Trio Chausson

Chopin: Trio, Op. 8; Introduction et Polonaise brillante; Liszt: Tristia

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The great Romantic-era pianist composer-virtuosos -- Chopin and Liszt -- wrote little in the way of literature that did not place their own instrument at the forefront. Chopin, in particular, wrote almost exclusively for his own instrument. Yet somehow these composers (and Rachmaninov some years later) were drawn to the piano trio genre. For Chopin, the chamber music allure came when he was a young man of 20. His G minor piano trio is a work of surprising beauty and optimism considering the bleak key, and while the piano certainly plays a central role, Chopin does not exclude the string instruments from the limelight. For Liszt, the inclusion of piano and strings came very late in life in the form of a transcription a portion of his "Years of Pilgrimage." Contrasting sharply with Chopin, La Vallée d'Obermann is a bleak, stark, dismal work, heard here in an adaptation by the Trio Chausson. In both cases, the trio does a brilliant job of capturing the emotional core of the music without overdramatizing. The Chopin, particularly, is played with far less rubato and sentimentality than is customarily heard; this results in a much more enjoyable interpretation that gives listeners precisely what is in the score. The playing is clean, articulate, nicely in tune, and well-balanced. Pianist Boris de Larochelambert deserves special praise for his playing that has not so much as a hint of overpedaling. The disc closes with the Trio Chausson's own transcription of the Chopin Op. 3 Introduction and Polonaise brillante. Though well played, the addition of the violin part seems an unnecessary component to the original virtuosic duo for cello and piano.

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