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Culture Watch: Schumann Piano Trios

April 27, 2011 | 10:00 am

Schumann Schumann: Complete Works for Piano Trio (EMI Classics) 

For no good reason, Schumann’s chamber music has been slow to gain a wide following with the public or even performers.  The piano quartet and quintet are standards, but only in the last decade or two have the string quartets become common in the concert hall and gotten irresistible recordings.  Next came violinists’ interest in the sonatas.

At last, the moment for the three piano trios has arrived.  This is late Schumann, mellow, moody and robust.  It is pure Schumann in all his fleeting unpredictability and experimentation with Romantic sentiment, rhythm and harmony.  All the trios have needed are terrific performances like these from pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, violinist Christian Tetzlaff and cellist Tanja Tetzlaff. 


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— Mark Swed