Dusting off Schumann’s underrated trios

Composer: Schumann
Repertoire:  Complete works for piano trio
Artists: Leif Ove Andsnes (pf), Christian Tetzlaff (vln), Tanja Tetzlaff (vlc)
Rating:  5/5
Genre: Chamber
Label: EMI Classics 094 1802

The Music: Schumann did not turn to the piano trio until relatively late in his too-short life.

The Performance: These three musicians know each other well – Christian Tetzlaff and Leif Ove Andsnes are frequent and well-matched chamber music partners, and cellist Tanja Tetzlaff is Christian’s sister. Perhaps the excellent Tanja’s sympathetic playing suffers ever so slightly in the shadow of her star soloist brother, whose strong personality and unmistakeable sound – plangent, witty and often lightly ironic – can seem quite dominant. But Andsnes’s sparkling, solid and good-natured pianism is the ideal foil and on the whole the three play as if with one mind. In their hands Schumann emerges as blazingly inspired.

The Verdict: Two discs of well-judged, full-blooded chamber music playing that dust off Schumann’s underrated trios and prove that they really are masterpieces.

Want More? Christian Tetzlaff and Andsnes play Bartók’s astonishing violin sonatas (Virgin, 545 6682).

Why You’ll Love This

  • Schumann Galore
    The piano trios aren’t Schumann’s best-known pieces but if you have enjoyed works like the great Piano Quintet or his piano music you can’t help but love them. In many ways they show this extraordinary composer at his passionate, characterful and wonderfully imaginative best.

  • Easy Expertise
    Musicians as comfortable with themselves and each other as Andsnes and the Tetzlaffs can afford to relax into the music and show us how much they love it, and how much they enjoy making music together. The effect is radiant.
  • Adventure And Excellence  

            The recording brings us the best of everything: the chance to explore less familiar repertoire with artists at the top of their game.