PLEYEL Keyboard Trios B435; 441; 442; 448

Charm and virtuosity from the man who made instruments and scores

Author: 
Harriet Smith

PLEYEL Keyboard Trios B435; 441; 442; 448

  • Piano Trio
  • Piano Trio
  • Piano Trio
  • Piano Trio

Though Ignace Pleyel may be better known to us as a maker of pianos and music publisher, he was a prolific and much-respected composer in his time, a pupil of Haydn with more than 40 symphonies, 80 string quartets and 50 piano trios to his name. And if that implies fecundity over substance, think again: there is much to delight in the four works presented here, with charm, virtuosity and vivaciousness in abundance.

The use of period instruments gives a pleasing airiness to textures. But it can also bring its own problems and there are times when the violin timbre tends towards the raw end of the spectrum (such as in the delightfully characterful Rondo ecossois of the A major Trio, B448, and the Allegro of the E minor Trio, B435). There is also a tendency to emphasise the rhetoric of the music at the expense of the forward flow, notably in the slightly fussy phrasing of the Adagio non troppo of the C major work, B441, a tender set of variations with a particularly beautiful minor variation spotlighting the cello, more of which could have been made here. Perhaps that is down to the recorded balance: though the piano-writing dominates in these pieces, the instrument itself is arguably too far forward in the mix, and up close there’s sometimes a metallic edge to its tone in accented passages, such as the opening movement of the E minor Trio. An enterprising release, none the less, rounded off by fascinating booklet-notes that flesh out this unduly neglected figure.

Gramophone Subscriptions

From£67/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2018