If you were to dismiss this DVD because of its less-than-stellar video quality, you'd be missing out on some fine music, and excellent sound. The video in this 1991 recording is a bit rough around the edges, but the sound and the performances are as good as one can hope for.
András Schiff, Yuuko Shiokawa and Miklós Perényi lovingly perform these three works for piano trio, providing moving, melancholic playing at times, and lively, boisterous interpretations at others. The third movement of Piano Trio No. 1, that slow, languid melody at the heart of this work, is splendidly performed, and the balance between the instruments is ideal. The more lively opening movement of Piano Trio No. 2 has plenty of energy. And the slower second movement of the same work, with that unforgettable cello melody opening over the piano - well known from the film Barry Lyndon - is performed with great subtlety.
The timings of the piano trios are on the long side, with the second trio nearly 52 minutes long. I find the tempi to be ideal for these works, as the musicians seem to have found just the right balance of energy and speed for these trios.
The Arpeggione Sonata is performed here in a version for cello and piano. The musicians play without scores, unlike for the piano trios. Again, the balance of the instruments is ideal, and Miklós Perényi gets an occasion to stand out with his excellent cello playing.
These works are filmed in a small room, with the three musicians very close together. The piano is in the rear, and the violin and cello in the front. The sound of this recording is excellent, with a nearly perfect balance among the three performers. Visually, the small space where this was filmed allows for little variety in camera angles, but the music is so vividly performed that this actually works quite well. There is no distraction from excessive cuts and angles, so the viewer and listener can focus on the music.
These musicians recorded these works for Teldec on a 2-CD set released in 1998, but which is, unfortunately, out of print. After watching this DVD, I would very much like to get their recording, as this is one of the better performances of these works that I have heard.
This is a delightful performance of some of Schubert's best chamber music. While the video quality is not perfect, it's easy to forget this as you are carried away by the wonderful music.