Are Schubert's piano trios infallible? No. For all of their exquisite lyricism, melting harmonies, and instantly unforgettable themes, in the wrong performances the lyricism can seem sentimental, the harmonies can seem cloying, and the movements can seem to go on forever. Are the trios effortless? No. For all that, none of the parts asks for more than what a talented amateur has to give, they still take sensitivity, strength, and stamina, and in the wrong performances, they can seem willfully individualistic.
Thankfully, the performances on this disc by the Dutch Storioni Trio are the right performances. The Storioni's previous recording of two Beethoven piano trios was one of the most impressive debut discs of 2005, and this 2007 release of both Schubert's trios is easily on the same level. The Storioni absolutely believes the trios are infallible, that Schubert's lyricism carries all before it, making even the long lines of the first trio's Andante un poco mosso sing like songs born in nature. The ensemble also absolutely believes that the trios are effortless -- or perhaps the combination of sensitive phrasing, strong tempos, and endless stamina merely makes them appear effortless. Whatever the cause, the conclusion is that the Storioni's Schubert trios are wholly winning performances of core repertoire and anyone who enjoys great chamber music playing will enjoy this disc. PentaTone's sound is typically transparent.