Piano Trio No.5 in E flat, Op.70/2
Piano Trio No.2 in C minor, Op.66
Vienna Piano Trio [Stefan Mendl (piano), Bogdan Božović (violin) & Matthias Gredler (cello)]
Reviewed by: Ben Hogwood
Reviewed: 20 January, 2014
Venue: Wigmore Hall, London
There followed a powerful account of Mendelssohn’s C minor Piano Trio, completed in 1845. There is a tragic air to the first movement in particular, full of nervous energy and tension here but thrown into relief by the much happier second theme. Ensemble between the Vienna members was extremely well drilled, and Stefan Mendl, with many notes to play, kept an ideal balance between the piano and the strings, his clarity giving the music its special energy. The warm-hearted slow movement fulfilled its role as a ‘song without words’, the strings dovetailing with inviting intensity, while the scherzo took its lead from this composer’s music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream (completed three years prior), skating lightly through the outer sections while imposing syncopated rhythms on the trio. The struggles of the first movement were victoriously released in the finale, with the wide leap of its theme given particular emphasis, even more so when C major was reached in the coda. The players’ dynamic was huge here, the swell to fortissimo reaching striking volume as they powered to the finish. In a generous encore, the slow movement of Mendelssohn’s other Piano Trio (Opus 49) received a tender and affectionate rendition.