Sunday, March 12, 2017

Felix Mendelssohn - Piano Trios (Julia Fischer; Daniel Müller-Schott; Jonathan Gilad)


Composer: Felix Mendelssohn
  1. Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 49: I. Molto allegro agitato
  2. Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 49: II. Andante con moto tranquillo
  3. Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 49: III. Scherzo. Leggiero e vivace
  4. Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 49: IV. Finale. Allegro assai appassionato
  5. Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor, Op. 66: I.  Allegro energico e con fuoco
  6. Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor, Op. 66: II. Andante espressivo
  7. Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor, Op. 66: III. Scherzo. Molto allegro quasi presto
  8. Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor, Op. 66: IV. Finale. Allegro appassionato

Julia Fischer, violin
Daniel Müller-Schott, cello
Jonathan Gilad, piano

Date: 2006
Label: Pentatone



Chamber music with star players doesn’t always work: lack of rehearsal time or oversized egos can often lead to performances high on surface glitz but low on understanding. Not here though: these young artists, already making waves in their individual careers, give us a recording of Mendelssohn’s delectable piano trios that sparkles and fizzes from the outset.

The opening of the D minor Trio No 1 is a touch simpler than the Florestan’s recent acclaimed reading but its urgency sweeps you along. They are particularly fine in the scherzi of both trios, with delightful portamenti in the D minor which seem to say “look how easy this is”. In the finale, the new trio set off at a dancing pace; the Florestan are a touch steadier, which makes for an even more explosive contrast as the movement hots up.

The C minor Trio has long lived in the shadow of the D minor. It’s darker, slower to reveal its secrets. The new version fully captures its ruggedness, the way that melodies are hewn from the musical material, rather than simply emerging complete as in No 1. The only real quibble is their spacious tempo for the second movement, a Venetian gondola song in all but name. It’s played with great tenderness but does seem rather over-extended. And in the finale the 1960s-vintage Beaux Arts Trio are more characterful. But all in all, this new recording is irresistible, with the three players caught in a wholly natural ambience. It’s always a good sign when you don’t want to stop playing a disc long enough to write about it.

-- Harriet SmithGramophone

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Felix Mendelssohn (3 February 1809 – 4 November 1847) was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic period. He was among the most popular composers of the Romantic era. Like Mozart, he was recognized early as a musical prodigy. Mendelssohn enjoyed early success in Germany, where he also revived interest in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, and in his travels throughout Europe. He was particularly well received in Britain as a composer, conductor and soloist, visited there ten times. His essentially conservative musical tastes, however, set him apart from many of his more adventurous musical contemporaries.


Julia Fischer (born 15 June 1983 in Munich) is a German classical violinist and pianist. She studied with Lydia Dubrowskaya at the Leopold Mozart Conservatory in Augsburg and Ana Chumachenco at the Munich Academy of Music. Her active repertoire spans from Bach to Penderecki, from Vivaldi to Shostakovich, containing over 40 works with orchestra and about 60 works of chamber music. On 1 January 2008, Fischer had her public debut as a pianist, performing Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto. She plays on a Guadagnini 1742 purchased in May 2004.


Daniel Müller-Schott (born 1976 in Munich, Germany) is a German cellist. He studied with Walter Nothas, Heinrich Schiff, Steven Isserlis and had one year studying with Mstislav Rostropovich. Aged 15, he aroused enthusiasm by winning the first prize in the International Tchaikovsky Competition for young musicians in Moskow in 1992. Müller-Schott has already built up a sizeable discography under the ORFEO, Deutsche Grammophon, Hyperion, Pentatone and EMI Classics labels. He plays a cello by Matteo Goffriller, Venice, 1727.


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