Written by Eric Rasmussen on November 24, 2009.
Ensemble: Trio Wanderer Recording: Trios Avec Piano No 1 & 2 (Saint-Saëns)
Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) is perhaps best known for his many beautiful works featuring solo violin, such as the Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso or The Swan. In certain circles, you may even hear about his lesser known Messe de Requiem, a tragic and deeply-felt choral work. What you don’t often hear about are his two piano trios, both formidable pieces, fully realized by Trio Wanderer in this excellent recording.
The first of the trios, in F major, was composed in 1864 and is full of vibrant energy, gracefully moving lines, and delicate passages. The second trio, in E minor, premièred in 1892, evoking a mood of melancholy punctuated by moments of dark intensity. The clarity of both works is astounding in terms of orchestration, performance, and recording quality.
Trio Wanderer plays beautifully, letting each of the lines come through without any one player dominating the sound. There are many fast passages throughout the works that require the musicians to all play energetically, but even at peak intensity you never lose track of any instrument. This is a highly recommended work for anyone who enjoys chamber music.