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11
Schubert: Piano Trios
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2011
Schubert's Piano Trios lay claim to being the greatest in the genre. And these are the best performances by a mile. There is a meridian feel to them as if the three participants were still at the top of their game and they wanted to broadcast their expertise everlastingly to the world.

I also owned the earlier performances with the Beaux Arts Trio (Mark I) from the 1960s. Upon hearing these later versions, I promptly sold them off: Cohen has a fuller tone than his predecessor; the music-making is just as acute and the recordings from the Sixties are fuzzy compared with the newcomer. Indeed, the original June 1984 recording was already a model of its kind. The remastering, whilst welcome, has added little. It has presence. Unless you are fussy, the three instruments are masterfully balanced.

In their hands, the B Flat in particular is a masterpiece. Magisterially, the BAT (Mark II) convey an intimacy in the last movement that is deeply moving: akin to Horace and Klimt, Schubert parries Oblivion as he celebrates humanity in all of its transient glory.

Best of all is the performance of the Notturno. To my mind, it is Schubert's Tristan und Isolde. It commences with the strumming of the sea; two passionate encounters follow only for the sea to reassert itself, thereby erasing all trace of the union. What a gun work. This performance is so much more electrifying than the alternative from the Sixties. Pressler is stunning.

I do not understand the cult of the earlier performances. All in all, this is the one to get.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2007
If the previous reviewer hadn't mentioned his objection to the mix, I wouldn't have noticed it. Perhaps the cello could have been mic'd a little closer, but the violin was prominent when it was supposed to be. I'm such a fan of Pressler that I tend to focus on his piano playing anyway, but I thought these performances had the passion and style that Beaux Arts is famous for...I loved it.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2012
The most obvious difference between these 1985 Beaux Arts performances and their 1966 ones is the sound quality. The improved recording technology 19 years later captured the sonorities of the instruments more fully, especially that of the piano. As a result the piano sounds more prominent than in 1966 but no more so than in a live performance where the violin and cello are seated in front of a nine and a half foot Steinway. In the concert hall the foreground seating of the violin and cello compensate visually for the aural prominence of the piano, so that prominence isn't as evident as in a recording. The two recordings differ also in the sound of their respective violinists: Daniel Guilet in 1966 has a notably thinner tone than Isadore Cohen in 1988, although perhaps he also plays with a slight degree more delicacy in places. There are also differences in interpretation, as one might expect after so many years and with a change of personnel. The 1985 recording pays more attention to the "moderato" of the Allegro moderato movements, and as a result some passages are less energetic than in 1966, but perhaps closer to Schubert's intentions. The 1985 recording may also be truer to the "un poco mosso" of the B-flat quartet's famous second movement, Andante un poco mosso, playing it at 8:49 instead of 1966's 10:00. Both sets of recordings are superb on their own somewhat different terms, but I prefer the newer one for the sonority of the piano and the warmer tone of the violin.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2013
I like the music, but the mix on disc 2 in particular is poor, with the piano much too loud in comparison with the strings.
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18 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2006
I am a fan of Schubert and the Beaux Arts Trio. I am sure that the Beaux Arts Trio did a nice job in performing these trios, but I was disappointed with the mixing of instruments(strings vs. piano} on this remastered CD.To me, the strings seemed distant and not distinct enough. It sounded to me as if the piano was near the microphone and the strings were 30 feet away.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2012
This recording does has some virtues. For instance it contains the enchanting Notturno in addition to the two piano trios. While the playing is for the most part fine, unfortunately from time to time there are some tuning issues. So if you are picky about pitch, I would definitely avoid this recording. This is a digital recording and with the ease of editing these days, I'm not sure how some of this made it on the final disc.
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on July 4, 2012
For me this is the urtext reading of this music by the incompatible Beaux Art's in their original configuration. It simply doesn't get any better. I would take it to my desert island.
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on March 27, 2014
Beautiful! I enjoy listening to the trios and feel the musicians are the some of the best ever so what's not to love?
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on December 9, 2014
Perfect. Prompt service.
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on July 19, 2014
it is terrific!
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