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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A set of Gallic trios performed and recorded to perfection, 25 Jun 2013
By 
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Various: French Piano Trios (Piano Trios In D Minor/ G/ Piano Trio) (Audio CD)
This very well recorded disc from 1999 makes an ideal coupling of the three piano trios by Faure, Debussy and Ravel. The Faure is a late work, the Debussy an early work and the Ravel is a masterpiece written at the height of his very considerable skills. As such they make an interesting group.

The disc starts with the Faure trio written in 1923 the year before his death. By this time, Faure had finally been granted the chair of composition in 1896 at the Paris Conservatoire and in 1905 he became the director of the Conservatoire. During this time he was a controversial figure as he followed his own paths of composition and did not follow the current thinking of the time. In particular he was interested in the detail of composition rather than the overall flow of ideas. Many of his works are therefore less accessible than works written by his contemporaries and this trio is typical of that gulf. However, the Florestan's play with such evident empathy and commitment that the work is able to communicate far more easily than usual.

The Debussy work is the work of a much younger man and dates from 1880. It is a much lighter work written at a time before Debussy had matured as a composer and developed his own style of writing. The early piano trio is essentially designed to give immediate pleasure and that it certainly does here. There is a considerable contrast to be heard between this pice, somewhat akin to 'salon music' of the time and the more complex world of Faure.

The final item is the Ravel Trio from 1914 and here we encounter a true masterpiece with the composer showing off his compositional skills in terms of construction while at the same time providing a deeply rewarding level of musical satisfaction. The titles of the middle two movements, Pantoum and Passacaille, clearly show Ravel's interest in the construction of the music. None of this should really concern the listener however as this is far from a dry academic exercise. On this occasion the music is performed with the same warm glow of communication that informs the rest of the disc.

I would suggest that this disc provides an ideal grouping of these three contrasting French trios and that they are all performed to perfection by the Florestan trio. One can only regret their disbanding as a performing ensemble. The recording quality is of the same standard and the disc is therefore a very tempting purchase proposition.

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Some dialogue from the comments section that may offer further help:

I thought that you might like to know that before I buy a recording I now look through all the reviews to see if you have posted one. Your assessments and opinions are invaluable. Thank you. (US review)

I particularly like your format of review. They give the prospective purchaser an idea of the style of the playing and relevant comparisons. They are succinct. Keep up the good work! (UK review)

I'm sure there are many other serious collectors, besides myself, who wait for your synopsis and opinion before spending their hard-earned money on new releases...
Thank you (UK review)

I'd also add to this. When you in particular review a particular CD, I pay pretty close attention. I would say the characteristics of your reviews I value the most are the detail and general sense of balance and fairness that comes across. That's a great help. Thanks for taking the time on your reviews. (US review)

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Technically excellent/emotionally lacking, 13 Nov 2013
By 
Mr. P. J. Dixon (Kent -england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Various: French Piano Trios (Piano Trios In D Minor/ G/ Piano Trio) (Audio CD)
A good collection of 20th C French chamber music, but just lacks a passionate edge to performance, particularly in theRavel.

Having just heard a breath-taking live performance of the Ravel by an up and coming Quartet I was somewhat disappointed.
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