Airy, transparent, light as a feather – if any composer’s music answers to these attributes, then it is that of Maurice Ravel, including his Piano Trio, even if this work too has its more serious moments. On its newest Super Audio CD the Vienna Piano Trio brings together this marvelously unique achievement and a very differently gripping trio by Ernest Chausson – a fascinating contrast and one most beautifully celebrated by our Vienna threesome.
Chausson composed his trio as an act of defiance. He had abandoned his study of composition without a diploma and had recently retired to the countryside. As if he wanted to show all his critics and especially the jurors of the Prix de Rome what he could do: in the Piano Trio an impetuous artist assumes a revolutionary and romantic expressive stance. This begins already in the impassioned first movement, to whose themes he repeatedly returns during the course of the other parts, and reaches its high point in the great breadth and unforgettable melodiousness of the third movement.
Along with Fauré and Franck, Chausson prepared the home turf for the next generation of composers. Debussy in particular enjoyed great support, and Maurice Ravel also profited from this development. French composers no longer had to exhaust themselves while endeavoring to emulate heavyweight German models. Impressionism had dawned in the music world and with its typically French idiom left its imprint on musical development in Europe.
It goes without saying that David McCarroll, Clemens Hagen, and Stefan Mendl meet with ease the enormous demands in playing technique that this transparent sound entails for instrumentalists. The rich and vibrant color with which these members of the Vienna Piano Trio present these scores is exhilarating – especially when they are heard performing so appealingly and enticingly on the threedimensional sound stage.