This is an interesting disc containing three virtually unknown trios for violin, cello and piano by Beethoven: the single movement Trio in E flat Major, Hess 47 (a transcription by Beethoven of the first movement of his Op. 3 string trio), the two movement trio in D Major, Kinsky/Halm Anhang 3, originally thought to be by Mozart, and the Piano Trio in E Flat Major, Op 63, an arrangement, believed by Liszt and others to be the work of Beethoven, of his string quintet, Op. 4. This is the world premiere recording of the first two of the trios.
I must say, now that I know them, I understand why they are unknown. It is not that the music does not have charm, it does. But we have come to expect so much more than charming from Beethoven, and his great piano trios are incredible works of the genre.
The playing is fine. These are gifted and dedicated chamber musicians. The sound suffers from what I call digitalitis. The piano fares well enough, though the richness of the Fazioli sound is lost. The violin and cello do not have the warmth that I suspect was in the playing of the two excellent string players, the tone is without depth and the attacks are strident. The violin is a Strad, and the cello a Gagliano, all superb instruments deserving of more faithful sonic reproduction.
Perhaps an analog LP version, or even a digital version on LP, would move me, but I can't help wondering if Beethoven would have bothered returning to these early works to make new arrangements had he not been in need of funds.
I am afraid this is a disc for those whose interest in Beethoven runs to the academic.