This an essential recording of Beethoven's Piano Trios. I have listened to a few varieties, including one with Isaac Stern, but nothing comes close to the incredible expressiveness of this particular ensemble - Daniel Barenboim, Pinchas Zukerman and Jacqueline du Pre. Although all Opus 1 trios here are marvelous, the middle one, Piano Trio No.2 in G, Op.1 No.2 sounds particularly extraordinary among the rest. I think it has to do with an auspicious bind between the composer, who was at the time of creating it 25 years old, and the performers, who were in 1970 about the same age - du Pre was exactly 25, Barenboim 27 and Zukerman only 22. The splendid amalgam of energy, joy and playfulness unique to blissful young age only is springing here as a mighty magic fountain of youth, with the last movement of the trio IV: Finale (Presto) leaving the listener breathless from amazing musical pleasure. Here I met Beethoven I did not know, being previously exposed to his later, much heavier works, such as an `Archduke" trio here (so grandiose and serious, not too frolicking 16 year later) or opera "Fidelio" and his other major works written already in a boundless new style which made him a true innovator.
Yet in the trio in G, I so adore his witty sense of humor; there are no traces yet of a grumpy old man he had become decades later. Here he jumps and dances around gleefully but very elegantly, graciously and tastefully; he is still indebted to the discipline of style characteristic of Mozart and Haydn, but he departs from older masters by adding a fourth movement to his trios and by making them much longer than habitual 20 minutes works customary of baroque masters time. And the trio players here capture seemingly every intention and nuance of the young Ludwig, with all four of them not yet aware of calamities awaiting them in the future... This recording is such an expressive outburst of young creative powers.
It is not just highly recommended; it is a must-have music. I"ve listened to it innumerable times, and still every new time it sounds ever more beautiful. It is pure magic brewed by four geniuses.