Vienna Piano Trio

Vienna Piano Trio Live!

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The Wiener Klaviertrio ventures a bit outside its mid-European home repertoire on this release with the Trio of Maurice Ravel, but that is perhaps the choicest morsel on this fabulous release. Throughout, the trio gives fresh readings of mainstream piano trios that are magically supported by the engineering team of Germany's MDG label, working live in the former farmhouse of a monastery abbey it favors for chamber music. This label specializes in matching repertoire to performers and acoustically appropriate settings, and everything comes together here. The beginning of the Ravel, with just the piano at the opening, seems to filter into the listener's consciousness like Proust's memories of time past, and the entire performance is deeply hypnotic. The Beethoven Piano Trio in B flat major, Op. 11, and Schumann's Piano Trio in D minor, Op. 63, also exploit the acoustic surroundings, with wide dynamic ranges and subtle attention to articulation and shifts in texture. The Schumann is one of those works that has been upwardly reevaluated from diffuse to experimentally spontaneous, and the Vienna players capture the sense of surprise. Sample the "Mit Energie und Leidenschaft" movement (track 9), where Schumann begins with thematic material seemingly similar to the Piano Quintet in E flat, Op. 44, but takes it in entirely new directions; the unusual rhapsodic passage a little more than two minutes in also works beautifully in this sonic environment. A sublime experience for lovers of chamber music.

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