The piano trios of Robert Schumann are not played or recorded with the same frequency as those of Beethoven, or even Schumann's closer contemporaries Mendelssohn and Brahms. Unlike these other composers, Schumann's trios tend toward the more cerebral, complex, and convoluted, creating added difficulties for performers who must wend their way through the complicated scores as well as the listeners who must follow along. This Avie album features the first and third of these elaborate trios performed by the Benvenue Fortepiano Trio. Not only does Benvenue make and exceptional case for the use of the fortepiano in place of the modern piano, but they perform with a level of gusto and brazenness seldom heard in modern instrument ensembles. This has both pros and cons. With such risk taking, there's bound to be places where the risk does not pay off, and indeed there are plenty of missed shifts, crunched chords, and intonation anomalies. On the other hand, their level of intensity, commitment, and unfettered navigation of Schumann's scores provides listeners with noticeably easy-to-follow interpretations and a clear enthusiasm that still somehow leaves us wanting more despite the occasional technical deficits. None of the instruments used are capable of producing the high levels of volume that modern instruments produce, resulting in a much more intimate, velvety texture and balance. Avie's sound is detailed and clear.
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AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Trio No. 3 in G minor, Op. 110|
|Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 63|