The Boulanger Trio combines three works in this program that seem to be related by period more than anything else. The Brahms trio that is first is his shortest and most concentrated, not as expansive in terms of motivic development as most of Brahms’ other mutli-movement works, yet it does have drama. The Trio plays very well together as an ensemble, united in tone and expression, bringing out fully what is there in the first movement, the longest and most emotional of the movements. It also does so in the other movements, making the listener want more to some extent. In a way, the Boulanger brings that same directness to Verklärte Nacht. It is an arch-Romantic piece, and the Boulanger makes the programmatic details obvious without being melodramatic at all. It has the ability to engage the listener even if it isn’t viscerally forceful, but it may not be to your taste if you like your Romanticism fervently passionate. This arrangement works well, giving each instrument a fair share of the music, and preserving the character of the original, although it can’t quite match the lushness of six string instruments or a string orchestra (it would come closer if there were just a bit more depth to the sound of the recording). The Liszt is the weakest piece here, in several respects. Liszt made the arrangement himself, and he essentially relegates the piano to the role of accompanist. Violinist Birgit Erz and cellist Ilona Kindt weave the melodic line together philosophically, with Klara Haltenwanger supporting their phrasing choices. It’s not as moody as one might expect, given that its source of inspiration was a book about a melancholy and unsettled young man. It is also a rather fast reading of it, which makes it seem odd that it doesn’t have very compelling momentum. The Brahms and the Schönberg are the better choices here for fans of Romantic piano trios.
***** - Exceptional
Stefano Pagliantini - Musica magazine - December 2012-January 2013
"...It’s a gripping disc from start to finish..."
Peter Quantrill - Gramophone magazine - May 2012