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Schubert: Piano Trios

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Composer: Schubert
  • Audio CD (15 Sept. 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Teldec
  • ASIN: B000007RXO
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 302,164 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 35
  2. Adagio
  3. Allegretto
  4. Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 35
  5. Andante Un Poco Mosso
  6. Scherzo: Allegro - Trio
  7. Rondo: Allegro Vivace

Disc: 2

  1. Adagio
  2. Allegro
  3. Andante Con Moto
  4. Scherzando: Allegro Moderato
  5. Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 35

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By Sid Nuncius #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 11 May 2010
This is a wonderful double CD of some of Schubert's loveliest chamber music. It contains both the great piano trios, the "Notturno" D897 and, as a bonus, the Arpeggione Sonata (played as is usual these days on the cello rather than the obscure and obsolete arpeggione). The trios are major works with plenty of really meaty Schubertian seriousness but also charm and beauty, the Notturno is simply lovely (and dramatic in the central section) and the Arpeggione Sonata full of verve, charm and melody. It's a great collection of pieces.

The performances are really excellent. Schiff, Schokawa and Perényi are all outstanding musicians and play together on these discs with real mutual understanding and empathy with the music, making this a really special set in my view. I don't know of better performances.

This is (at the time of writing) a full-price set and the obvious comparison is with the Beaux Arts Trio at budget price Schubert: The Piano Trios. For me, it's well worth the extra for this set. Much as I love the Beaux Arts' Haydn (and other) recordings, in this repertoire Schiff, Schokawa and Perényi seem to me to have far more gravitas, sense of pace and sheer beauty of tone. And, of course, you get the Arpeggione Sonata here, which is a piece I wouldn't want to be without.

In addition to the excellent performances, the recorded sound is very good and the notes very interesting. Although it's not cheap, I wholeheartedly recommend this set.
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Excellent versions of majestic Schubert chamber music. Schiff and Perenyi make for an incredible couple in the Arpeggione sonata. Trios are also quite good, matching Beaux Arts trio set.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars 7 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exellent Music with perfect technique 12 Jun. 2000
By A Customer - Published on
This is a wonderful CD for every Schubert lover, done by a musicians working together for a long time. I, as an amateur cellist, was especially moved by the exellent music with perfect technique of Perenyi. The sound is beautiful, interpretation persuasive, tempo stable but not tedious, and music expressive. I especially like his "Arpeggione Sonata." But it's not only his music and sound that is great. As a recording of Chamber music, "ensemble" must be the priority....and this is exactly what I appreciate so much. As a ensemble group, these three are one of the best. I hope as many musicians as possibe would share their well-done work.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Consummate Schubert in every way - a must-listen 8 Sept. 2011
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on
These recordings from 1997 are so distinctive that it might be best to take them one at a time.

CD 1:
Arpeggione Sonata: Although written for a peculiar instrument (a sort of bowed guitar) that soon disappeared from sight, this sonata appears in the repertoire of every professional cellist and has been recorded by most. The beguiling melody in the first movement is one of Schubert's most haunting, and the whole work s infused with the magic of his wistful melancholy. The catalog number, D. 821, puts the score in the vicinity of another masterpiece with much the same atmosphere, the "Death and the Maiden"Quartet. As so often with Schubert, one would never expect that his personal life was filled with distress at the time - symptoms of syphilis and bouts of depression.

It's often pointed out that the main difficulty of the "Arpepeggione" is that it lies so high on the cello (the music sounds very different when played on the viola, but it somehow gains something just because of the extreme range demanded on the cello). Perenyi is fortunate in possessing a lovely high register, which he encompasses easily and nimbly. the cello is fairly faint this high up, and Schiff accommodates with a light, elegant touch. The result is very appealing, and although the version from Rostropovich on Decca with Benjamin Britten as accompanist is a classic, I am drawn to this more slender account. In its musicality and poise it could easily be a first choice.

In the Piano Trio no. 1 in B flat one notices how sunny the playing is form this group, with Schiff leading on piano in a summer mood akin to the "trout" Quintet. The pace is quick, the ensemble close-knit and compact. It's hard to resist this kind of controlled ebullience, although there are other very fine readings of this trio that lean more toward Beethoven's robustness (I'm thinking of the rousing recording by Istomin-Stern-Rose, which is outclassed so far as sound goes by this one). All the instruments sound natural, and the engineers have balanced them very well. When he plays solo Schiff has proved a restrained interpreter of Schubert - too much so for me - but he's energetic here while allowing for reflective asides when they crop up; Schubert is never devoid of them even at his most cheerfully extrovert.

One of the beauties of this performance is that the violin of Shiokawa (who is married to Schiff) and cello of Perenyi don't break out of the prevailing mood when they are given solos; the mood and atmosphere are consistent. the temptation to grab the limelight is resisted, and so the flow of Schubert's long lyrical lines is able to cast a spell. I usually find that chamber music played by three stars is preferable to long-established groups that have grown too used to each other. Here we get a nice balance between individual voices and togetherness. As in the "arpeggione," this could easily be a first choice in the trio.

CD 2:
The Notturno for piano trio is a single Adagio movement, and the catalog number, D. 897, moves us into Schubrt's last period, which evoked the mysterious deep sadness that comes, in his world, with the most sublime beauty. He produced scores that can never be fully fathomed. Schiff and company deliver a tender reading that doesn't lose its inwardness when the variations become more emphatic. The use of long protracted chords creates the same timeless feeling on a reduced scale, as the slow movement of the String Quintet in C. This reading is a model of graceful serenity.

The second Piano Trio, in E flat, carries a catalog number, D. 929, that brings us very close to the end of Schubert's major works, and it is most known for the haunting slow movement. The idiom isn't straightforward despite the key signature, which in Mozart signals good cheer and plain sailing. The E-flat Piano Trio, like the last three piano sonatas, provides unexpected juxtapositions of force and tenderness, loud public declamation and quiet intimate singing. Most ensembles take it to be a "bigger" work than the first trio, more imposing and perhaps, to its detractors, pompous. But I'm sure this is because the greatest works of music await great interpreters.

Schiff and company are very good at characterizing each shift in mood without losing the arc of the whole. I must admit that the last two movements of this work seem to fall off in melodic inspiration, and Schubert had reservations about the finale, based on a fairly insipid theme (rare for him), which he shortened considerably. Here we return to the original exposition repeat and all lost material restored. The result is a movement lasting nearly 20 min., but it was a good decision - late Schubert always works better if allowed to extend its full length, because the composer's "heavenly" sense of time is unique. The cheerful ditty upon which this movement rests is based on a triplet rhythm that has the effect of minimalism, so that more and more repetition creates a different response than conciseness can. This reading is so lively and alert that there's never a chance to be bored for a minute. Again, a reading that could easily be a first choice.

Given the beauty of everything here, it's a shame that the price is a bit steep on the used market. A cheaper route is to buy Warner's 9-CD collection of Andras Schiff's recordings; it has many other outstanding things as well, although only the disc devoted to Bartok's three piano concertos rises quite to this level.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very fine, and from the Gramophone POV "these are splendid recordings; a top recommendation" 9 Nov. 2015
By 3rd Day Believer - Published on
The first thing that hit me is just how fine and different the "technology" is here, namely the recording tech itself. Slightly different sound than I've encountered with other chamber music, as if the engineers have done some rethinking about the process. OK, now to be boring and quote Gramophone's review. "All in all, these are splendid recordings; a top recommendation," "the recording is clear and spacious," etc. I'm not familiar enough with these pieces to call them the "top" or even the middle. But they are gorgeous. These really are beautifully recorded, so much so that it's hard to get a fix on the performances. I'm not sure if you could call them reference-quality engineering, but they repay playback on a good system like mine (Emotiva CDP, Beresford DAC, Crown IC150 pre, Crown DC300A, Rectilinear III "Highboys.").
5.0 out of 5 stars I first head Schiff and Shiokowa in the wonderful Schubert Fantasy for violin and piano (D934) 19 July 2014
By Robert L. Mackenzie - Published on
I first head Schiff and Shiokowa in the wonderful Schubert Fantasy for violin and piano (D934). The cellist is a wonderful addition to produce an interpretation which flows with a gentleness and momentum which, in an almost understated way, is most beautiful. I have 5 versions of these piano trios and this would rank as one of my top two (the other being the Dali). The Borodin version has more weight to it which provides another perspective.

Schiff has chosen his partners well to match and augment his own lieder like approach to Schubert.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful - a 1st choice performance 19 Jun. 2009
By P. Dave - Published on
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I cannot agree more with the sky reviewer - earlier. This performance of two Schubert's piano trios is truely sublime, musical and colorful. The sound is gorgeous and alive. This performance was also highly acclaimed by Gramophone as one of the best. Highly recommended. I absolutely love Schubert's Arpegionne Sonata. But, the best performance of this piece is Rostropovich/Britten's version on Decca's legendary performance. Just listen and you'll love it.
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