Münchner Klaviertrio

Mendelssohn: Piano Quartet Op. 3; Piano Sextet Op. 110

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Performances of Mendelssohn's extensive catalog of chamber music often center around the string quartets, piano trios, the octet, and duo sonatas. Almost forgotten are the other contributions the short-lived composer made to the repertoire. While most of these lesser-known works stem from very early in Mendelssohn's career, they are nonetheless valuable, enjoyable contributions that demonstrate quite clear just how quickly the composer's skills developed. This Genuin Classics album features two such works: the Piano Quartet No. 3 in B minor, and the Piano Sextet in D major. The Piano Quartet, last in a series of three, was dedicated to none other than Goethe and was completed at the young age of 15; the piano sextet predates even this early composition. In both cases, Mendelssohn does not make any profound mark on the genre, but still manages to create works with clearly individual parts, pleasing melodies, and familiar busyness of accompaniment. Performing is the Münchner Klaviertrio & Friends. While adding musicians to an existing ensemble in this way can produce questionable results, in this instance it works quite well. Throughout the album, the musicians do a splendid job of maintaining balance (even with the added punch of the double bass in the piano sextet), playing in tune with one another, and keeping articulations crisp, clean, and precise. They also approach these lesser-known works with no less conviction than they might the oft-performed piano trios, producing a performance that is completely engaging and satisfying to listeners.

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