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on 23 May 2011
In all honesty, these performances by the Beaux Arts Trio are simply stunning. Each player brings a wealth of virtuosity to the fore - a definitive example of Gestalt - the whole is definitely worth more than the sum of its parts. These pieces are pure Brahms - the true bridger of the Classical and Romantic traditions. And proof also, if proof be needed, that Brahms was ever more comfortable with chamber emsembles than with others. The opening piece, Piano Trio in B flat major, has the capacity to melt the stoniest of hearts. And it doesn't stop there. Prepare your guts, for they will be wrenched.

Needless to say, the Beaux Arts Trio pull out all the stops. They cannot do any wrong. I dispute the earlier review. I have listened to the Horn Trio, following the score. I cannot find any "fluffed" notes. In fact, my admiration of the player is increased. The horn in E flat is notoriously difficult to play, yet here the tone is mellow, the notes are sustained, the pitch is accurate, and the interpretation is spot-on. Listen with your own ears and see if I'm wrong.

I haven't heard any other recordings of Brahms' trios, but after this, I'm not even sure I want to.
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I bought this because of the Clarinet trio. I was not disappointed by the interpretation, and the balance between the instruments in the recording is just right. It does sound like they are in your room in some parts! The other trios are very good, especially the C minor. My only slight gripe is the horn part in the horn trio. Some of the high notes split in the first movement - I'm sure they are difficult to play but surely if this is a studio recording, they could have retaken the movement?
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on 28 May 2014
I had just been listening to the great Stern-Rose-Istomin set, so I had to put the Beaux Arts on for comparison. On my headphones, the aural picture is quite different, although the Brahms recordings for both groups come from the 1960's. The Beaux Arts are slightly more present, the piano is more warmly recorded, and the stereo separation isn't quite as pronounced as with Stern-Rose-Istomin. I agree with the reviewer who deplores the omission of the first-movement repeat in the Op. 8, for the playing is just gorgeous (the music is gorgeous, of course!), but the main difference in general between the Beaux Arts and Stern-Rose-Istomin is the piano playing of Menahem Pressler. He is much less retiring than Istomin, and the recording balance does him more justice too -- he comes across as the "driver" of these pieces, and it's a joy to hear. Mind you, I wouldn't be without Stern-Rose-Istomin either.

The other pieces in this Philips Duo are the Brahms Horn Trio and Clarinet Trio. The latter sounds just fine, but I have no basis for comparison. The string players are members of the Beaux Arts, and the clarinetist is the excellent George Pieterson. In the Horn Trio, the excellent Arthur Grumiaux is the violinist, and sounding fine, Sebok is the lively pianist, and the hornist is Francis Orval. I think the balance -- which must be tricky in this piece -- isn't ideal, with the horn in particular suffering. I prefer the Tuckwell-Perlman-Ashkenazy version on Decca, which has a better balance to my ears (though not all problems are solved), and warmer sound overall. But this 2-disc set as a whole is a bargain, with Pressler in the Brahms Trios being worth the price all by himself.

NOTE: The Beaux Arts Trio re-recorded the Brahms Trios in digital sound (and with Isidore Cohen) in the mid-1980's. I haven't heard that later recording.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 14 May 2017
These fine, traditional performances merit a place on the shelf of any serious Brahms chamber music enthusiast. The icing on the cake is the terrific value, with over two hours of such beautiful music being yours for a penny under £8.
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on 14 November 2013
jolly fine stuff, good sound, I'm no scholar of classical recordings, but this seems perfectly recorded to me, so there.
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on 6 February 2015
a joy
especially no 87 in c
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on 13 July 2015
Lovely quality CD
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on 26 August 2013
This is not the Beaux Arts Trio that I know. Where is Bernard Cohen. Don't like dynamics of the recording either.
Record details should give the names of the players in the trio and not just the name of the trio ie Beaux Arts
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