Folke Grasbeck / Jaakko Kuusisto / Marko Ylönen

Sibelius: Complete Piano Trios, Vol. 2

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The second volume of the Complete Piano Trios concludes BIS' survey of Sibelius' works in this medium, and presents two early trios with several short pieces left in various states of completion. The Piano Trio in D major, "Korpo," and the Piano Trio in C major, "Lovisa," are ambitious products of the composer's youth and are quite enjoyable for their ardor and ingenious sonorities. Violinist Jaakko Kuusisto, cellist Marko Ylönen, and pianist Folke Gräsbeck are sweet in tone and highly expressive, utterly appropriate to Sibelius' tender, even naïve, Romantic style. Their amiable playing brings a sense of conviviality to these works -- in keeping with their origins as music for holiday recreation -- and listeners may find them sufficiently rewarding on the strength of the performances. However, the remaining five pieces are mere curiosities, much less satisfying for their brevity, lack of originality, and uncertain purpose. They may appeal as charming miniatures for the parlor, but they are otherwise unremarkable. Aside from the well-known "Lovisa" Trio, all these works were discovered in a donation of manuscripts to Helsinki University in 1982, and they receive their first recordings here. The CD's sound is clear and vibrant, though the piano occasionally seems distant in the mix.

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