SCHUBERT Trios for Piano, Violin and Violoncello
The Capuçon brothers, on violin and cello, and their pianist colleague Frank Braley offer warm and characterful readings of Schubert’s four works for piano trio: the two big numbered masterpieces, the early Sonata Movement and the Notturno. The First Piano Trio, the B flat, is surprisingly gentle, intimate and lightly sprung. The pianissimo for the second subject in the first movement is treated freely at a slightly slower speed than the main Allegro, and that degree of romantic freedom marks the slow movement too, with freely expressive phrasing and marked rubato.
The contrast with the vintage Beaux Arts version of 1968, still sounding well, is great; the Beaux Arts are more forthright, pianist Menahem Pressler taking the lead where in the new version the Capuçons are the prime movers. In the Sonata movement, however, the contrast tends to be the other way round, the Capuçons strong and positive and the Beaux Arts lighter and gentler.
In the the E flat Second Trio the Capuçons are strong and purposeful, even if characteristically they allow a marked slowing for the second subject group in the first movement. In the second movement Andante Gautier Capuçon’s cello solo is very gentle, almost reticent, but all the more moving for that, while the Beaux Arts are again more forthright, with richer cello tone. In the third movement, the Capuçons are far faster, making it a genuine scherzo, where in the finale both groups spring the rhythms deliciously.
In the Notturno, where the Beaux Arts are so slow the music almost stagnates, the Capuçons are far preferable at a flowing tempo, with the violin and cello in perfect co-ordination. The new issue can be warmly welcomed for its individual and spontaneous-sounding readings, very well recorded.