Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Piano Trio in C minor Op.1 No.3 (1793) [28:41]
Piano Trio in B flat major Op.97 Archduke (1811, rev. 1814) [40:17]
European Fine Arts Piano Trio (Tomasz Tomaszewski (violin), Pi-Chin Chien (cello), Francois Killian (piano))
rec. 29 June-1 July 2009, Ziegelhutte Appenzell, Switzerland.
GUILD GMCD7396 [69:11]
The European Fine Arts Piano Trio, formed in 1999, is a new name
to me and I suspect to many others. This CD is the Second Volume of
a complete set of Beethoven Piano Trios which it is claimed, “sheds
new light on these works with an interpretation, which is based entirely
on the notes of Beethoven’s pupil Carl Czerny”. These
musicians are certainly of the top rank and play very well as a group.
In addition the recording is first rate and on its own terms makes
for just over an hour of fine music-making.
Op.1 No.3 is, second to the Archduke, my favourite Beethoven
Piano Trio and was later adapted by Beethoven to a String Quintet
Op. 104. The European Fine Arts Piano Trio (EFAPT) starts very promisingly
with the first movement which conveys the drama and enthusiasm of
the young Beethoven. There are opportunities for each of the members
to show their prowess whilst keeping within the parameters of a trio.
The second movement is a beautiful set of variations most attractively
played here. The third movement shows that even the young Beethoven
had the power to stir the waters. The contrasts in this movement are
well handled. The finale Prestissimo is fiery and conveys the
troubled nature of the composer who had already moved the nature of
the Piano Trio quite away from Haydn. All in all this is an accomplished
performance, which one would be delighted to hear in concert.
The Archduke is one of the greatest piano trios ever written
and there have been a host of excellent recordings through the years.
In this piece I fear the EFAPT are slightly out of their depth. They
certainly play well but don’t seem to be inside the music as
much as one would like. At times the music feels forced. I felt this
particularly in the second movement where the magic of this sublime
music was missing.
This CD is at full price and as such is uncompetitive, despite its
merits; there are so many others available. For the newcomer I’d
refer to Em Marshall’s review
where she discusses the alternatives available.
David R Dunsmore