Magazine article Gramophone

Brahms: Three Piano Trios (Two Versions of No 1, Op 8)

Magazine article Gramophone

Brahms: Three Piano Trios (Two Versions of No 1, Op 8)

Article excerpt

Brahms

Three Piano Trios (two versions of No 1, Op 8)

Oliver Schnyder Trio

RCA Red Seal [F] [2] 88843 09542-2 (122' * DDD)

A feature of this issue is the inclusion of both versions of the Op 8 Trio - the original of 1853-54 and the extensive revision made long after, in 1889. In recasting the work, Brahms left the impressive main ideas of each movement more or less unchanged; but in the first movement, Adagio and finale he recomposed most of the contrasting material, making it more succinct and more relevant to the main argument. Even if the Trio's early version tends to sprawl, it's still good to hear its fascinating byways, especially the unexpected quicker section towards the end of the Adagio, and to be able to compare it to the later achievement.

The Schnyder Trio give performances notable for their verve and enthusiasm. Many movements benefit strongly from this approach: the Scherzo of Op 8, for instance, with its quicksilver piano runs and eager violin and cello entries, and Op 87's finale, done with considerable panache, admirably sustaining the movement's giocoso character. The trio's 'no holds barred' approach results in an extremely exciting performance of Op 101's passionate first movement; Brahms appears almost beside himself with agitation. …

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