Recorded 14-16 February 2006, the two piano trios of Felix Mendelssohn (1839; 1845) benefit from an attractive ensemble, brilliantly captured in surround sound by Job Maarse at the German Radio in Cologne. To say that the ensemble breezes through the first movement of the D Minor Trio is to understate the warm fluency and genial brio that marks the entire concept, a loving rendition, truly. The Andante con moto tranquillo becomes a veritable song without words in which Fischer’s violin and Mueller-Schott’s cello can soar, with plenty of shimmering arpeggios from Gilad. Some sizzling effects in the Scherzo, typically elfin in the Midsummer Night’s Dream tradition, and sparkling in the PentaTone engineering, which really pulls the cello’s suave part (on a 1700 Matteo Goffriller instrument) into the sound space. The fiery finale borrows from Beethoven’s dynamic procedures in its mighty course, Gilad’s piano pushing hard in blazing runs and block chords. Elegantly balanced, this bravura performance is a dessert to be savored many times.
An eerie chromaticism marks the C Minor Trio, whose fierce piano lines girder some dark thoughts in the upper instruments. If an elfin element pervades the opening Allegro energico e con fuoco, it has emerged from Weber’s Wolf’s Glen. Lovely cello line and violin duets, proving that the much-hyped Julia Fischer is as adept in chamber music as she is in solo concerti. The swell of the melodic tissue, as well as the underlying vocal pulse, at the recapitulation is a miracle of sound mixing, with gorgeous colors flowing in the surround medium. Ms. Fischer’s own instrument is a sweet thing, a Guadagnini from 1750, and it can be heard to dulcet advantage in the rocking Andante espressivo movement, another extended song, lyric and potent. Another flurry of diaphanous, electrically charged, restless activity for the Scherzo, Gilad’s piano part all rippling fingers. The cello part sets the tone for the Allegro appassionato that concludes this romantic outpouring, which embraces a Bach chorale in its evolution into a personal hymn. Julia Fischer, a pupil and protégé of the late Yehudi Menuhin, certainly brings his passionate aesthetic to bear throughout Mendelssohn’s finely wrought figures, a fine pair of musical vehicles for these sympathetic young artists.
— Gary Lemco