Odradek Records presents Schubert's extraordinary Piano Trios performed by musicians who share a rare affinity and rapport, both with one another and with Schubert's music: violinist Franco Mezzena, cellist Sergio Patria and pianist Elena Ballario. Franco Mezzena honed his musicianship in duos with his father, the great pianist Bruno Mezzena, and Sergio Patria and Elena Ballario have been performing together for over 30 years.
These three artists have known each other by reputation for many years, but their artistic association began in 2015 as a natural consequence of mutual long-distance esteem. Franco's precision and rigour on the violin, combined with Sergio's innate expressiveness and Elena's musical balance, are the three main characteristics that make this trio complete. The first rehearsal of the Mezzena-Patria-Ballario Trio involved playing through Schubert's Piano Trio No. 2, a piece for which the three artists feel a particular passion and with which their interpretative affinity manifested itself immediately. Their concert activity has led them to performances of the standard trio repertoire, including recordings of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov, but also rare performances and recordings of music such as the trios by Ermanno Wolf Ferrari and Alberic Magnard.
While Franz Schubert worked on his noble, monumental song-cycle, 'Winterreise', he also wrote his two Piano Trios, the lyricism and 'joie de vivre' of which recall the exuberance of earlier works. Schubert's Piano Trios filled a gap in piano trio writing that had lain open since Beethoven's 'Archduke' Trio of 1811. Like Beethoven, Schubert treats the instruments equally, but his own style is unmistakable. Both Schubert and Robert Schumann reflected contemporary opinion in their preference for the intellectual rigours of the Piano Trio No. 2, which was at first the more popular of the two; but the airy, graceful Piano Trio No. 1 has since become the more frequently performed work. Both are remarkable for distinct reasons: the first is sunny and charming, the second more complex and on an ambitious scale.
This release offers the listener a new interpretation of Schubert's Piano Trios, performed with intimacy and contagious joy by these exceptional musicians.