For their second release on BIS the Trio Zimmermann play Beethovens String Trios Op.9 a set of three that the composer himself upon their completion described as the finest of his works. With their concentrated sonority, intense drama and striking formal disposition, the Op.9 trios mark the highlight as well as the end of Beethovens production for string trio before he went on to compose quartets instead. With each of its members enjoying distinguished solo careers, Trio Zimmermann is truly a world-class ensemble. Frank Peter Zimmermann, Antoine Tamestit and Christian Poltéra first joined forces in 2007, and have since performed together in the most important musical centres of Europe, including the Salzburg and Edinburgh Festivals. The trios first recording, of Mozarts Divertimento K563 (BIS-SACD-1817), was released in 2010 and has met with worldwide critical acclaim.
Though it was nearly nine years after the young Beethoven settled in Vienna before he ventured to publish a set of string quartets, he was busy annexing other chamber-music genres that Mozart had famously cultivated: violin sonatas, a piano/wind quintet, piano trios, a trio with clarinet and, not least, string trios, culminating in the three of Op 9. Maybe the first lacks the distinctively Beethovenian touch, but with the genial, sonorous No 2, in D, he is fully himself. The great No 3, in C minor played with fire and subtlety by the outstanding Trio Zimmermann is arguably the finest of all his early works, an audacious masterpiece that would surely be widely performed if the medium were less esoteric. --Sunday Times,15/01/12
The playing itself is dazzling, combining expressive warmth and admirable clarity. All in all, this recording is a real treat. Performance ***** Recording ***** RECORDING OF THE MONTH BBC MUSIC CHOICE --BBC Music Magazine,Feb'12
These three opus 9 trios present a fascinating picture of the young Ludwig,bursting with ideas and an impatient desire to take a musical form born as the baroque trio sonata and breathe new Beethoven life into it.But as striking as they are they nevertheless represent a last grasp for a format that would soon be eclipsed by the sring quartet. Whatever,it s hard to imagine them better played than in this startling recording by Frank Peter Zimmermann(Violin), Antoine Tamestit(Viola) and Christian Poltera(Cello) who exploit all the brilliantly playful and exhuberant possibilities of these small masterpieces-particularly No3 in C minor --Observer,22/01/12
These musicians are in command of the meticulously written extremes in expression, Sfozandos not indiscrinately stabbed at but gauged according to the contexts in which they appear. Tempi are gauged to a nicety too. In sum, they do Beethoven proud throughout this exceptionally fine disc, enhanced by BIS's clean SACD sound. --Gramophone,Mar'12