Brahms: Piano Trio No 1 in B major, Op 8 (original version from 1854); Piano Quartet No 3 in C minor, Op 60

Reviewed on Tue 22 Mar, 2016

The rarely performed original version of the Opus 8 Piano Trio is a deeply personal expression of Brahms’s youthful and daring romantic feelings, which Trio Wanderer capture effortlessly in their feeling for the instrumental lines and Gallic open textures.

This release forms an appropriate partner to the Trio Wanderer’s previously issued recording of Brahms’s piano trios (Harmonia Mundi download). The rarely performed original version of the Opus 8 Trio is a deeply personal expression of Brahms’s youthful and daring romantic feelings, which Trio Wanderer capture effortlessly in their feeling for the instrumental lines and Gallic open textures. Trio Testore (Audite) offer the same work in original and revised forms but their robustly insistent approach might be more suited to mature Brahms. That said, I find that Trio Wanderer and violist Christophe Gaugué – whose warmth of tone integrates well with that of his partners – offer a thoroughly recommendable interpretation of the Piano Quartet, Op 60. The intimacy of the writing is beautifully realised with experienced musicality, allowing the work’s inner sense of chiaroscuro to be fully appreciated. Harmonia Mundi’s natural recording acoustic seals an impressive release that I shall return to often.
–Evan Dickerson