Brahms: Trio, Op. 8; Schoenberg: Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4

Trio Jean Paul

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Brahms: Trio, Op. 8; Schoenberg: Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4 Review

by James Leonard

"Make it new!" was Ezra Pound's poetic password, and the Trio Jean Paul seems to have taken his dictum to heart in this disc featuring Brahms' First Piano Trio and Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht. They make it new by performing Brahms' rarely recorded first version of the trio, and Eduard Steuermann's arrangement for piano trio of Schoenberg's string sextet. As importantly, the trio makes it new by delivering strongly accented, vigorously rhythmic, and extremely passionate performances. Though Brahms' original trio is much longer in its opening movement than the revision, the Trio Jean Paul keeps the tempo pressing forward, and the result is entirely persuasive. While it might seem Schoenberg's work is so dependent on the sustained sonorities of a string sextet and that the tone of a piano would be out of place, the trio's blend and balances retain the warmth of the string version while adding the strength of a piano. Though certainly not the only recordings of these works one ought to hear, anyone who already knows and loves the works will likely find this disc interesting and perhaps even fascinating. Ars Musici's digital sound is rich, lush, and deep.

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