Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Superb Playing of Some Stunning French Chamber Music
Christopher Smith | Atlanta, Georgia | 09/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the only Trio Fontenay disc I have, but I'd heard great things about them. So a generous offering of the three major composers of early twentieth century French music on one disc seemed a good place to start. And what pieces they are. The Debussy is pretty minor, since he composed it when he was 18, but it's still very pleasing to listen to. It's a piece that looks backward to the romantic lyricism of the nineteenth century rather than one that looks forward to his experimental impressionistic masterpieces. As for the Ravel and the Faure, they're unbelievable--passionate and tempestuous, yet they yearn with an ache. They'll completely engage you from the beginning to the end. Faure was a true surprise for me, since I don't know very much about him or his music. He wrote this trio right at the end of his life, yet in spite of (or maybe because of) this fact the music is utterly overpowering in its tragic intensity. I love everything of Ravel's that I've ever heard, so all I can say of his trio is that it easily meets the very high standards he set for himself. As for the playing, it seems to me to be the equal of these pieces. I haven't heard any other interpretations, so I have nothing to compare them to. Yet the Fontenay musicians seem to play off each other immaculately, and they certainly capture the intense drama of these pieces. I think I'll try and listen to their Brahms and Beethoven to get a really good idea of what they're capable of, and I'm confident I'll like what I hear. However, I think this disc is essential listening, because you get so much both in quantity and quality. If you haven't heard these pieces before, you'll be delighted you discovered them."
Perfect Rainy Day Music
Christopher Smith | 07/31/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A friend loaned me this CD on a rainy day in October when I was feeling under the weather...Since then, this CD, a cup of Darjeeling and a blanket come out every rainy Saturday--in the fall when the leaves are falling, and straight through to the earthy-smelling thunderstorms of early June. For an afternoon of reflection and meditation, there's nothing like this collection of Piano Trios by three wonderful Impressionists..."
Faure, Debussy and Ravel's Piano Trios
Amy | 08/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Debussy's Piano Trio in G major is one of his earliest works, written when he was barely eighteen. It was long taken for granted that this was definitively lost until it was found again, almost a century after its completion. At the time, Debussy composed the Trio, he was a member of Nadejda von Meck's household acting as a pianist. Mrs. Von Meck wrote about him to Tchaikovsky praising his newly composed trio. Not unsurprisingly, this youthful work, for all its technical competence, only briefly points towards Debussy's mature style. Some of the music is fairly indebted to Franck and at times bears the imprint of Faure. Debussy, however, already briefly comes into his own in the delightful Scherzo intermezzo. The other movements, as already mentioned, are more traditional in his style. In total contrast, Faure's Piano Trio in D minor Op.120, completed in 1923, is actually his penultimate completed work, a commission from his publisher. This magnificent work is one of Faure's greatest achievements and clearly the product of the composer's late maturity. The music unfolds with consummate ease, melodies flow in complete freedom though everything is tightly held together. The more remarkable characteristics of this marvellous piece are, I think, its melodic fluidity, its harmonic subtlety and its formal elegance. Lastly, there is Ravel's Trio in A Minor that was written at his full maturity. These works, in spite of their differences, make for a quite unified programme and is beautifully performanced by these amazingly talented musicians. I enjoy this cd from beginning to end.