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  PentaTone Classics -
  PTC 5186 085
  Mendelssohn: Piano Trios - Fischer, Gilad, Müller-Schott
  Mendelssohn: Piano Trios Nos. 1 & 2

Julia Fischer (violin)
Jonathan Gilad (piano)
Daniel Müller-Schott (cello)
Track listing:
  Classical - Chamber
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Site review by Polly Nomial August 10, 2006
Performance:   Sonics:    
This has to be one of the best discs of chamber music making I have ever heard and certainly one of the best recorded. Right from the moment that Daniel Müller-Schott opens the D minor trio one sense that this is really very special and the following entrances from Jonathan Gilad and Julia Fischer only confirm that feeling; despite all three being concert soloists in their own right, this is a real meeting of minds. This is playing that makes one sit up and take notice for all the right reasons; it certainly completely eclipses all other versions of this wonderful music I have heard.

The opening tempo of the D minor trio is perfectly judged, not too quick to rob the music of its inherent lyrical nature nor lacking in drama in the more heated moments, and the balance that the trio and PentaTone achieve is a marvel to behold - only live have I heard such a natural blend of instruments before today. In the Andante, such is the beauty and restrained passion of the playing that this music really tugs at the heart strings - it becomes a true song without words here. From this moment of rapt bliss, we are transported into the quicksilver world of the Scherzo and seldom can this have been played with such delicacy or vivaciousness; Gilad really shines with his self-effacing virtuosity here. As the twinkling piano part of the Scherzo fades in the memory, the drama of the opening movement returns in the Finale but without such gorgeous lyricism; this movement not only taxes the performers but unless it is well characterised it can be taxing for the listener too - not that there are any concerns here.

The C minor trio is equally successful and enjoys just as sensational playing as the earlier trio. The opening figuration's are built naturally to the climaxes and the players make magic out of seemingly less promising musical material than what opens the D minor trio which is then handed over beautifully to the glorious melody when it finally arrives. As in the earlier trio, the Andante provides balm for the senses and, after such an electrifying first movement, it is very much needed! A bustling Scherzo then provides Gilad to demonstrate his superb technique again but this time the notes are much more evenly spread out so Fischer & Muller-Schott also have a chance to shine here and they take this with both hands. As in earlier movements, the C minor trio places slightly emphasis on the pianist than in the D minor trio and the Finale is no exception; all three protagonists are called on to provide lyricism and virtuosity that is audibly facile which this team come up with ease. A wonderful conclusion to a great disc.

The recording, as we have come to expect, is excellent but I feel that this sets a new standard for PentaTone; rarely has any chamber music sounded so lifelike. Fortunately, this quality reflects the quality of the playing and the feeling is recalled of when I first heard MCH but I am now regularly "immersed" in beauty, so this is really something very special indeed (6 stars out of 5 would not be exaggerating the quality of either performance or recording!) Whilst the total playing is just shy of one hour - the pleasure lingers in the mind for a great deal longer (that's assuming that you can resist the temptation to start all over again).

Without a doubt, this is the best chamber playing I have heard all year and I cannot see how anyone would fail to warm to this music when given such loving performances as here which is complemented by the sensational recording. Tremendously exciting! Do not hesitate - buy this for yourself and anyone you know who loves chamber music as, even in "plain" stereo or (dare I say it) RBCD, you & they will surely love it as much as I do.

Copyright © 2006 John Broggio and

Review by massprof August 8, 2006 (17 of 17 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This is my first review on this site, having been prompted to do so by the recent acquisition of this disc. Here the widely acclaimed young violinist Julia Fischer is joined by two other young colleagues, Daniel Muller-Schott and Jonathan Gilad, in the two Mendelssohn piano trios. Of course, these works have been played and recorded in the past by many great trios, but I am hard pressed to imagine more convincing and beautifully recorded performances than those offered by the present group. Like any great performances, these make me feel like I'm hearing the pieces for the first time. Dynamic shadings, phrasing, and tempos are perfectly judged throughout, at least by my taste. As wonderful as the Trio No. 1 in D minor is played, the second trio in C minor (which is arguably the more mature work) is even finer. For example, the opening theme of the first movement has an almost menacing quality that is powerfully conveyed by the musicians. In the second movement Andante, the expressiveness and poignancy of the playing is enough to bring tears to my eyes. The Scherzo is propulsive, with plenty of rhythmic drive. And the final Allegro pulls the whole piece together and brings it to a rousing conclusion. Needless to say, the sound is equally wonderful, with Pentatone's recording allowing all of the musicians to shine. If you are a lover of great chamber music and especially this repertoire, don't hesitate to get this disc. You won't be disappointed.

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Review by ~~Phil~~ October 17, 2006 (7 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This disc is a stellar performance from start to finish. Added to that, it is beautifully recorded. I am always more interest in a great performance that exhibits great dynamics without sacrificing the overall energy, no disappointments here either. The sound is really quite natural, I have my hat off to the balance engineer at Penatone - it is really balanced perfectly!! Top notch work here from everyone involved and a real wonderful pianist - Jonathan Gilad should be very proud of his part on this disc...he shines from start to finish...I would like to hear more from him.

Julia Fischer is as stunning as always...She really knows her place in these works and shines only when it is called for. Just listen to her in the Andante of the D minor and you'll know why I'm so floored by her playing. Now after hearing all of her work with Penatone, I must say I'm truly looking forward to all her future releases...She has such fire!!! Technically brilliant and her love of the music is so clearly evident on this and every recording I've heard thus far - I think we are experiencing one of the first true legends of the 21st century...I can only imagine hearing her performance of the Tchaikovsky violin concerto in SACD!!!

There is such passion for this music from each performer that you will find it very easy to come back to this disc time and time again. BTW - My very first listen was the cd-layer in my car and that was excellent - or I should say, about as good as 16-bit can be...(if only I could have heard this in SACD in my car...someday, I hope!!!!)

Bottom line - Amazing team work that more than pays off for all - Best of all for the listener in the end!

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Works: 2  

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy - Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, MWV Q 29 Op. 49
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy - Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor, MWV Q 33 Op. 66