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"More meaningful" for whom, tjh? For the particular listener(s), probably or perhaps or even not (in my case and not only). That's why I separate the value per se, the value in context and the personal relation with the work (which is predominantly emotional).
Of course, Beethoven, when he wrote Op.1, could not even envisage that some other Piano Trios will follow, but they did. Therefore, while Op.1 has its own great value, it can be considered within the context of Beethoven's total output in this field.
The second movement of Op.70/1 is another superb moment in the whole Chamber Music in the critical key of d minor. A great rival to Schubert's 2nd Trio's respective one.
P.S.: Op.102. Can there be the greatest Sonatas (particularly the second, whose hauntingly exquisite slow movement is in d minor too).
Op.101 is definitely a unique one, but some may bring to the fore at least another three (Op.106, 111 and, why not, 57).
Going back to the subject of this thread and speaking of the Master's wind contribution, one should not neglect his Septet in the pivotal key of E-flat, where three wind instruments are involved, with an unusual and creative role given to the Clarinet.
More meaning -
More POiGNant-ER, relEVAnt, and RICH.
(The difference between Pogner and Poignant + CL = clarinet, anyways)
PS 103 - more winds
Further to earlier comments, listened to Brahms's clarinet quintet, for the first time in years, de Peyer & Melos Ensemble (EMI CD). Not a success, I though rather dull (perhaps I was not in the right mood).
Couple of days later took out much less known players, Eddie Daniels (who also plays jazz clarinet according to the sleeve notes) & The Composers Quartet on Reference Recordings (LP version). This one did it for me & got to the heart of this at times rather dark & brooding work, helped by superior very realistic & natural recorded sound. It happens to be coupled with the Weber quintet which I would place on a similar footing to the Brahms albeit a very different work being almost a mini virtuoso clarinet concerto in the manner of Weber's 2 concertos & concertino. Few have written to show off the instrument as well as Weber.
Then I thought for something different the original 13 instrument version of Appalachian Spring should qualify for this post with flute, clarinet, bassoon strings & piano. A Reference Recordings LP again from members of the Pacific Symphony Orch cond Keith Clark. Nicely done & again realistically recorded.
Very glad to see you, Nick, to find your way towards Brahms and...Weber too. I can fully subscribe to your observation that Weber is "on a similar footing to the Brahms albeit a very different work". Absolutely correct the last sentence of your penultimate paragraph.
In the field of the combination of Clarinet, Violin and Piano, there are two major works who managed to leave their marks: a) Bartok's intriguing Contrasts and b) Stravinsky's delightful Suite from L'Histoire du Soldat.
The dynamic and fine Polish label Dux released, some years ago, an impressive recording of both works with some good Polish soloists, including Lutoslawski's Partita for Violin and Piano.
Likewise, the more than a decade old recording by Supraphon of the same works along with Khachaturian's rarely performed and recorded Trio and Milhaud's almost equally rare Suite for the same forces, in a disc called simply Clarinet Trios, with an all female great Czech soloists.
Both recordings are well produced in nice, warm and fine reccordings. Both discs are worthy for those interested.
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