Brahms: Piano Trio No. 1 Op. 8 (original version); Piano Quartet No. 3 Op. 60
Trio Wanderer -- Jean-Marc Phillips-Varjabédian (violin), Raphaël Pidoux (cello) and Vincent Coq (piano). With guest violist Christophe Gaugué.
Harmonia Mundi HMC 902222 [73:54]
Release Date January 22, 2016
‘Harmonia Mundi’ on the shipping label is always good sight to read on our incoming mail. They deliver by download, too. The packages, both old school and electronic, always contain an embarrassment of riches.
So, an extra special delivery this week of the latest CD from Trio Wanderer, a French chamber ensemble that I have heard in concert. They are a superb group and blessed with three wonderful, idiomatic soloists who are exact in their ensemble work.
The latest CD has beautiful and famous works by Brahms — the early Piano Trio, Op. 8 and the much later Piano Quartet, Op. 60. For the Quartet, the Wanderers are joined by violist, Christophe Gaugué.
Both performances are sublime. and is some of the finest chamber music you’ll hear this year on CD (or streaming on Tidal HiFi). The Trio is such a happy, sunny work. Brahms at his most charming. The mature Quartet has sunny spells, but we all know how much more stress Brahms was dealing with, especially when you’re in love with your best friend’s wife.
Both pieces posses beautiful melodies and the typical underlying syncopations which represent the aforementioned stress.
The Trio Wanderer balance out Brahms’ voicings to perfection — nothing is to the fore, yet the recording, which is equally superb, allows each melody its own space. The reverberation, whether natural (which it sounds) or ‘fixed in the mix’ (Teldex Berlin Studio) is lovely. No complaints. And the instruments sound completely at ease.
The cellist Raphaël Pidoux has a sound to die for — so incredibly sweet and expressive. And both violin and piano match his expression as near as damn it. Very highly recommended.