Mendelssohn: Piano Trios Nos 1 and 2, etc. – Gould Piano Trio
Champs Hill Records adds to its Mendelssohn discography a new download of the Piano Trios from the acclaimed Gould Piano Trio. The album includes a priceless cello miniature in the form of the Song without Words in D major, Op. 109 and the charming Albumblatt for piano in E minor, Op. 117.
Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor received its first performance in Leipzig in February 1840, with the composer at the piano, the string parts played by the leader of the Gewandhaus Orchestra, Ferdinand David, and its principal cellist, Franz Carl Wittmann. Robert Schumann’s review of the published score declared the work to be the ‘master trio of today’ and it is universally recognised as one of Mendelssohn’s greatest works, along with the Octet.
Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor, composed and published four years later, was dedicated to the violinist Louis Spohr and takes the melody of a German chorale, known in English as ‘Old Hundredth’ for its association with Psalm 100. The Variations concertantes for violin and cello were written when the composer was twenty: a simple homespun melody put through a series of classical variations, the set culminating in a full-blown romantic finale.
Benjamin Frith, the pianist of the Gould Piano Trio, writes: ‘His cultural inheritance was the great classical repertoire that Mendelssohn imbibed as a child. In the two masterly Piano Trios and his Variations concertantes he adapts those former principles of structure and form to his own inimitable musical personality.’
"... The Goulds have a generous, warm-hued view, finding a rich, golden sound with no want of fire or gossamer lightness when required... this is an obvious recommendation..." *****
Guy Weatherall - Classical Music magazine - September 2014