Review by Julien July 19, 2007 (7 of 9 found this review helpful)
|This recording is a revelation. I wasn't aware that we had such a great trio on SACD. I didn't know those players before, because 1998 was my last year in Paris as a musician, and I'm not very aware of the "new" generation (about my age I guess) since then.
First of all, these players individually are in another league than the Florestans and Storionis. I think this is quite obvious to a musician, the Kempf trio is composed of first class players, first class chamber music players too, and who unlike many talented players have really pushed the ensemble work to the limits of perfection. They are one.
Then, they also did an incredible stylistic work on Beethoven, and believe me I nearly never am satisfied with the playing of Beethoven or Schubert. It is so hard to play. I am astonished at how these players, apart from the quasi-perfection, work on the style without falling into that period aware cautious style of play, which usually means boring (I won't cite names but there are many). They also respect the score, but more important the intentions behind the score (who am I to know that!), beautifully. I know these trios for having played them, especially the op. 1, many times. Outstanding work.
Now the sound. To answer to Krisjan's review, I don't think the piano's lid was closed (maybe half-closed, I hear it wide-open), but as most of Bis recordings choose close-miking it favors the violin and the cello which are thus placed comparatively even closer. Think of yourself sitting in the first two rows and this is what you get. If you seat further, the piano sound is usually bigger than the strings (this also depends on the pianist's choice, Menahem Pressler from The Beaux-Arts is usually very aware of a proper balance and never lets himself "cover" the others).
The violin sounds the closest to the microphones, but sometimes you cannot blame the engineers for that, the violin being the only instrument to move while playing!
Believe it or not, unlike last year when I was rather new to SACD, I don't want to give too many 5 stars now, but it's been a while since I've felt like this, sound and performance wise I'll say perfect. Of course personally I prefer the microphones to be a bit further, anyway I won't rate a choice, only the mastery of it.
The Kempf trio is lucky to have Bis, and I guess Bis knows how lucky they are to have them.
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