As much as the concert public loves the often performed symphonies of Robert Schumann and singers offer the inordinately beautiful lieder cycles of this great Romantic composer, few even are aware of all the chamber music Schumann created outside of the String Quartets, Piano Quintets and works for accompanied soloists. Here on these two CDs are the complete works for piano trio The Piano Trio No.1 in D Minor, Piano Trio No. 2 in F Major, Piano Trio No. 3 in G Minor and the Six Studies in Canon Form, Op.56 arr. for Piano Trio ('Six Studies in Canon Form are lyrical and unobtrusively contrapuntal. Schumann composed them for the pedal piano which, like an organ, had an extra set of notes played with the feet; an example of the instrument is on display at Schumann's birthplace in Zwickau') and 'Fantasy pieces for Piano, Violin and cello. It is a feast of new Schumann information and a richly rewarding performance.
Leif Ove Andsnes continues to challenge his enraptured audience with not only his mastery of the keyboard but his intellectual probing into musical history. His playing on this recording is as always warmly sensitive and brilliantly executed, but at the same time he understands the intricate interplay with his colleagues - Christian Tetzlaff, violin and Tania Tetzlaff, cello. Together they soar through Schumann's technical challenges and bring out all of the melancholy and profound feeling so present in all of Robert Schumann's works. This is generous offering and a splendid recital. Grady Harp, May 11