Piano Trio in D minor, Op.49
Piano Trio in C minor, Op.66
The Florestan Trio [Anthony Marwood (violin), Richard Lester (cello) & Susan Tomes (piano)]
Recorded between 16-18 December 2003 in Henry Wood Hall, London
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: October 2005
CD No: HYPERION CDA67485
Duration: 54 minutes
This wonderful issue begins in confiding mood, the plangent cello of Richard Lester opening up a discussion that Anthony Marwood takes up gratefully and which Susan Tomes underpins with discretion and interest. This is outstanding music-making, absorbing in its interplay, very expressive, and a real appreciation of Mendelssohn’s fluctuating emotions. Thus the strength and purpose of the D minor Trio’s opening movement is attention-grabbing and the succeeding Andante is tenderly phrased and ineffably lovely. The scherzo is as light as thistledown and the finale a true apotheosis.
The less-well-known C minor work is also given a deeply satisfying account, one that captures gloriously the first movement’s brooding undercurrents and the essential lucidity of the Andante espressivo – and how expressive and heartfelt this movement is here. Another mercurial scherzo is brought off with the deftest of responses, and the expansive and aspirational finale has just the right poise between linear flow and the yearning needed for the chorale tune.
Tempos are unerring and the works’ range of moods captured ideally; dynamic and timbral contrasts delight the ear and there is an unfailing sense of direction. There is also no lack of passion. But what is so special is the musicians’ sensitivity and teamwork. Yet, two magical moments (out of many) belong to Susan Tomes, both occurring in the D minor work: her wonderfully unaffected introduction to the Andante and her sotto voce enunciation of the chorale when it returns as a sort of echo near the end. Decades on, Menahem Pressler at last has an equal at this poignant moment.
Two masterpieces performed to near-perfection, beautifully recorded by Simon Eadon, impeccably produced by Andrew Keener, and an insightful booklet note by Robert Philip – a stellar release.