Gould Piano Trio (Lucy Gould,violin; Alice Neary, cello; Benjamin Frith, piano)
SOMM continue their exciting survey of live recordings of Beethoven’s Complete Piano Trios with Volume Two, performed in December 2011 at a concert in St. George’s, Brandon Hill, with the dynamic Gould Piano Trio who this year celebrate their 20th Anniversary.
Volume Two begins with the genial and charming Piano Trio in E flat major WoO38 which Beethoven completed in 1791. Yet for all its easy charm, it’s far from predictable and it’s full of fascinating structural subtleties which point to the mature master. An interesting point is that he dispenses with the customary and more conventional ‘slow movement’ preferring instead, a Scherzo with a contrasting folk-like dance.
It is difficult to believe that only four years separate the genial E flat Trio from the Piano Trio in C minor, Op.1 No. 3, a powerful and stormy masterpiece full of dramatic emphases in the Allegro con brio first movement. This is followed in the second by a set of Variations on a solemn theme continuing with a restless, eruptive Minuet in the third movement and concluding with a Prestissimo, full of life and energy, yet ending in a subdued mood marked by unease.
The disc ends with Piano Trio in E flat major Op. 70 No. 2 written ten years later and premiered by Beethoven in 1808 with violinist Ignaz Schuppanzigh and cellist Joseph Linke. This is a luminous, endearing work beginning with a quiet introduction with a canonic opening which reappears after the recapitulation, like a memory. The second movement has variations on two themes succeeded by an affable cantabile Allegretto. The fourth movement is an extended finale reinforcing the joyful mood which informs this masterpiece throughout.
“Performances of taste and sincere passion” The Telegraph
“So much to enjoy… Fine performances.. This first instalment in the Gould Piano Trio’s complete Beethoven cycle has much to recommend it. The recording is meticulously balanced.” BBC Music Magazine (on vol. 1)
“If the forthcoming volumes are as good as this one, we will be in for a fine series of discs.” Music Web (on vol. 1)
On This Recording
- Piano Trio: I. Allegro moderato
- Piano Trio: II. Scherzo: Allegro ma non troppo
- Piano Trio: III. Rondo: Allegretto
- Piano Trio No. 3: I. Allegro con brio
- Piano Trio No. 3: II. Andante cantabile con variazioni
- Piano Trio No. 3: III. Menuetto: Quasi allegro
- Piano Trio No. 3: IV. Finale: Prestissimo
- Piano Trio No. 6: I. Poco sostenuto – Allegro ma non troppo
- Piano Trio No. 6: II. Allegretto
- Piano Trio No. 6: III. Allegretto ma non troppo
- Piano Trio No. 6: IV. Finale: Allegro