This release by the mostly Israeli Trio Shaham Erez Wallfisch benefits from including works that speak to one another, all of them composed between 1914 and 1923, and reflecting in one way or another the general anxiety of the era. Beyond that, all the works on the album reflect something specific to chamber music: the imposition of a certain classical rigor on a composer's natural disposition. The underrated Debussy violin and cello sonatas, planned as part of a set that was left unfinished at the composer's death, are dark, mercurial works that seem in this fine reading by violinist Hagai Shaham to strain against the confines of the violin-and-piano duo medium. The Ravel Piano Trio of 1914 expands into Ravel's distinctive language from a Classical basis. Perhaps the most revelatory here is the late Piano Trio, Op. 120, of Gabriel Fauré, an uncharacteristically concise piece that has a rather mystic feel. Beyond the immersion that comes from listening to all these works together, the performances of the individual works are sterling, with a fine, precise ensemble and long lines that are the essence of French lyricism. Highly recommended for chamber music buffs, with none of the music being exactly frequently performed.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Piano Trio, Op. 120|