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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67175
Recording details: December 1999
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: August 2000
Total duration: 17 minutes 56 seconds

'Revelatory performances from the Florestan. Excellently recorded, this welcome disc should win all three works a new lease of life' (Gramophone)

'The Florestan Trio plays all these works with characteristic thoughtfulness and intelligence. It is difficult to find fault with its performances. A valuable and highly enjoyable addition to the Schumann discography' (BBC Music Magazine)

'A triumphant successor to their previous disc of Schumann. Indeed, it’s one of the best discs of Schumann chamber music I’ve heard in recent years' (International Record Review)

'The Florestans—named after the more extrovert of Schumann's two artistic alter egos—have, in only five years, established themselves as the piano trio par excellence of our day. Their previous Schumann disc, comprising the D minor and F major trios, won deserved acclaim and a clutch of awards. Now they turn their attention to the late G minor trio, a comparative rarity in the concert hall these days. Listening to such exhilarating, spontaneous accounts of this wonderful music, it is hard to understand its neglect. Another superlative issue from Hyperion and the Florestans.' (The Sunday Times)

'First rate in every way: thoughtful and spirited accounts of all three pieces' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Delightful. Most refined performances of lovely music' (Classic CD)

'Irresistibly lovely music, the Florestans respond to it with performances of finesse and insight. Textures are warm, and the recording clear and well-focused. A first-rate recommendation' (The Scotsman)

'Marvellous performances. The Florestan trio, individually and as an ensemble, plays with flawless technique, integrating sounds and ideas perfectly. Altogether, a fine recording' (Fanfare, USA)

'This latest recording confirms that the Florestan Trio has become one of the most exciting and compelling chamber groups around. Their skill is that they let the music speak for itself but play it with passion … magical' (Daily Express)

Fantasiestücke, Op 88

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Listening to the Fantasiestücke Op 88 we may wonder if Schumann had been reading through the late piano trios of Haydn. At any rate, its opening two numbers revert to the type of trio texture favoured by that earlier master, in which the piano dominates while the cello and the keyboard’s bass line move largely in parallel. The entire collection was clearly designed for domestic performance by amateurs, and Schumann himself drew attention to its more ‘delicate’ nature in comparison with his other chamber works for piano and strings.

The opening Romanze, with its melancholy folk-like melody, is a piece of touching simplicity. Its theme reappears in a more lively form as the first episode of the following Humoreske, so that once again we find Schumann planning two successive movements as an interlinked pair. The various episodes of this second piece recur in a circular design, with the opening march-like theme returning only at the end. This final reprise is an exact replica of the opening section, though Schumann adds a coda which charmingly allows the march to fade away into the distance.

The Duet of the third movement is for the two stringed instruments, who spin a melodic line of great beauty while the piano provides a gently rippling accompaniment. As for the finale, it returns to the march rhythm of the second piece, albeit in more grandiose style. The plain chordal texture of the march itself contrasts strongly with the intricate counterpoint of the first episode, which is designed as an elaborately interwoven series of canons in which the answering voice often appears in mirror form. Towards the end, the music turns to the major for a curiously disembodied coda in which the piano’s chorale-like melody is shadowed throughout in syncopation by the stringed instruments. After this, the music gradually dies away while the pianist plays fleeting passagework over a drone from the strings. But the coda also has its own tailpiece: a sudden spurt of energy which brings the work to a flamboyant conclusion after all.

from notes by Misha Donat © 2000

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