Smetana Trio

Mendelssohn: Piano Trio No. 1; Schubert: Piano Trio No. 2

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Having completed a successful and enjoyable survey of much of the Czech and Slavic works for piano trio, the Smetana Trio moves on to the German Romantic works in this 2010 Supraphon album. The First Trio in D minor of Felix Mendelssohn and the Second Trio in E flat major of Franz Schubert were once directly compared in a review by Robert Schumann, which seems appropriate enough of a reason to include them together on a program. In the frenetic Mendelssohn Trio, the Smetana Trio really hits all of its marks. The tempos are vigorous but under control, balance between the three musicians is impeccable, especially considering how busy the score gets at times, and the overall sense of interpretation is one of fiery passion, energy, and excitement. Despite being in a major key, the Schubert Trio has many moments that are actually much more solemn than in the Mendelssohn. The final two movements, however, are joyous, ebullient compositions, yet the trio seems to be less exciting and energetic here than it was in the Mendelssohn. The soulful second movement, marked Andante con moto, is on the slow side of Andante and lacking in moto. Still, the Smetana Trio produces a rich, vibrant sound, and plays remarkably well together. It's just a shame that the Schubert didn't have the same spark as the Mendelssohn.

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