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Reviews: Mendelssohn: Piano Trios - Fischer, Gilad, Müller-Schott

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Reviews: 6

Site review by Polly Nomial August 10, 2006
Performance:   Sonics:    
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Review by massprof August 8, 2006 (17 of 17 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This is my first review on this site, having been prompted to do so by the recent acquisition of this disc. Here the widely acclaimed young violinist Julia Fischer is joined by two other young colleagues, Daniel Muller-Schott and Jonathan Gilad, in the two Mendelssohn piano trios. Of course, these works have been played and recorded in the past by many great trios, but I am hard pressed to imagine more convincing and beautifully recorded performances than those offered by the present group. Like any great performances, these make me feel like I'm hearing the pieces for the first time. Dynamic shadings, phrasing, and tempos are perfectly judged throughout, at least by my taste. As wonderful as the Trio No. 1 in D minor is played, the second trio in C minor (which is arguably the more mature work) is even finer. For example, the opening theme of the first movement has an almost menacing quality that is powerfully conveyed by the musicians. In the second movement Andante, the expressiveness and poignancy of the playing is enough to bring tears to my eyes. The Scherzo is propulsive, with plenty of rhythmic drive. And the final Allegro pulls the whole piece together and brings it to a rousing conclusion. Needless to say, the sound is equally wonderful, with Pentatone's recording allowing all of the musicians to shine. If you are a lover of great chamber music and especially this repertoire, don't hesitate to get this disc. You won't be disappointed.

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Review by krisjan October 10, 2006 (7 of 14 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
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Review by Windsurfer October 14, 2006 (7 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
PN said this disc should be given 6 stars out of 5 for both sound and performance. I agree. This, surely, is the most life-like chamber music recording I own. I think it is also the most inspired performance of any chamber music I ever heard.

Let me call your attention to the scherzo of Trio #1. Here a simply jaw-dropping fleet lightness originates in the astonishing fingerwork of pianist Jonathan Gilad and is reflected by Fischer and Mueller-Schott as the thematic material is passed about.

What particularly delights me here is the way this thematic material, so wonderfully realized by Gilad, is passed to Fischer. She does not merely match, but contributes materially to that magical lightness, with inspired tonal shading and phrasing she takes it a step farther that brings a smile to my face each time I hear it. I almost have to laugh out loud from pure delight! Mueller-Schott is in every way attuned to and contributory to this mood as well.

The only thing wrong with this disc is that it inevitably ends, and each time it ends, and I realize it is over, I feel a little deflated - til I decide to indulge myself and play it all over again. But then of course it does end again, and another hour has passed wherein I have done nothing but immerse myself in the most wonderful of melodic experiences.

There is such unanimity of purpose and performance evident here, such an inevitable rightness, that one could be forgiven for imagining that perhaps a fourth individual was present with these performers, directing as would a conductor the spirit of Felix Mendelssohn!

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Review by ~~Phil~~ October 17, 2006 (7 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This disc is a stellar performance from start to finish. Added to that, it is beautifully recorded. I am always more interest in a great performance that exhibits great dynamics without sacrificing the overall energy, no disappointments here either. The sound is really quite natural, I have my hat off to the balance engineer at Penatone - it is really balanced perfectly!! Top notch work here from everyone involved and a real wonderful pianist - Jonathan Gilad should be very proud of his part on this disc...he shines from start to finish...I would like to hear more from him.

Julia Fischer is as stunning as always...She really knows her place in these works and shines only when it is called for. Just listen to her in the Andante of the D minor and you'll know why I'm so floored by her playing. Now after hearing all of her work with Penatone, I must say I'm truly looking forward to all her future releases...She has such fire!!! Technically brilliant and her love of the music is so clearly evident on this and every recording I've heard thus far - I think we are experiencing one of the first true legends of the 21st century...I can only imagine hearing her performance of the Tchaikovsky violin concerto in SACD!!!

There is such passion for this music from each performer that you will find it very easy to come back to this disc time and time again. BTW - My very first listen was the cd-layer in my car and that was excellent - or I should say, about as good as 16-bit can be...(if only I could have heard this in SACD in my car...someday, I hope!!!!)

Bottom line - Amazing team work that more than pays off for all - Best of all for the listener in the end!

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Review by threerandot June 19, 2007 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This is a disc that will certainly not disappoint lovers of Mendelssohn or chamber music in general. This trio of performers play as one and bring great energy to this music.

Although I am familiar with the playing of Julia Fischer from her fine Russian Violin Concertos disc, I have not had the opportunity to enjoy the talents of her partners in this engaging recording. Daniel-Muller Schott, (cello) and Jonathan Gilad, (piano) could not be better suited to these works.

The playing in the in D minor trio is very impressive. The first movement contains some very persuasive and dyamic playing with just the right amount of energy. The mood of the Andante shifts to a more intimate mood with passionate playing and the recording only adding to the depth of feeling. The charming and exhilirating Scherzo features virtuosic and effortless playing, while the Finale, like the opening allegro, features robust and authoritative performances, with the whole of this trio played very persuasively.

Where the D Minor trio is more outgoing in nature, the C Minor trio is somewhat more introverted and much darker in tone. The opening Allegro features a fiery performance that is indominitable. The Andante is restful and calm. The tone finally lightens in the charming Scherzo with plenty of vituosic playing, the trio playing as one. The disc ends with the Allegro of this trio and plenty of robust and passionate playing.

Mendelssohn was one of the key composers of the Romantic period and "Romantic" could be the best word to describe this music and these performances. The trio of young players on this disc are easily up to the challenges of this music and give their all, diving straight in. When the disc ends, I half expect to hear enthusiastic applause, the performances and this recording being so immediate.

The recording is very realistic with string textures and piano timbres vividly caught. The listener is placed fairly close to the soloists to enhance the sense of intimacy with this music. The surrounds supply only a subtle and pleasing ambient effect. Another jewel in the crown for Pentatone. Highly recommended.

(This review refers to the MCH portion of this disc.)

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