This is the second disc from the Audite label of piano trios by the German composer and virtuoso pianist, Eduard Franck. Given the high quality of the music, it’s surprising so little of it has previously been recorded. Of the three pieces on this program, there is one other version of the Piano Trio Op. 22 on the Naxos label. The Piano Trio Op. 53 and the Piano Trio (1835) are both appearing here as world premiere recordings.
Eduard Franck (1817-1893) was about a generation older than Johannes Brahms. He was an extraordinarily gifted pianist, in demand across Europe, but as a composer, was very little known. One reason for this was the exacting high standards to which Franck held himself for his work; most of his compositions were not published until shortly before his death.
Most scholars consider Franck’s best work to be found among his chamber pieces. The list of compositions in this genre is quite extensive, including five violin sonatas, five piano trios, two piano quintets, a piano sextet, three string quartets, two string sextets, a string quintet and two cello sonatas. If you are not already listening, click the ‘play’ button on the video in the right sidebar to hear the concluding Presto of Franck’s Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello (1835), written when the composer was only eighteen years of age.
There is a rather understated beauty to this music, which is masterful in many respects – formally, melodically and for the composer’s vibrant musical imagination. It is difficult to imagine any listener who enjoys Romantic chamber music not enjoying this, and if you do, you may want to seek out the earlier Audite release of Franck’s piano trios (ADT 92567) containing the trios Opp. 11 and 58. The remarkable Swiss Piano Trio performs with the impeccable technique, sensitive musicality and homogeneity of sound and approach that set them among the finest such ensembles performing today.
audite’s Eduard Franck series continues with three further chamber works of the composer. This recording of the Piano Trio in E major and the Piano Trios Op. 22 and Op. 53 now completes Franck’s contributions to the genre; both the Trio in E major and Op. 53 are première recordings. Written between 1835 and 1886, these three works span nearly the entire composing career of Eduard Franck and provide valuable insights into the vibrant chamber music culture of the nineteenth century.
Eduard Franck (1817 – 1893) was a German composer, pianist and music pedagogue. As a talented pianist, he embarked upon a dual career as a concert artist and teacher for more than four decades during the course of which he held many positions.
His chamber music is generally considered amongst his finest compositions. Of the works with opus numbers, there are 3 string quartets, 2 string quintets for 2 violins, 2 violas and cello, 2 string sextets, 3 piano trios, a piano quintet, 2 sonatas for cello & piano, and 4 sonatas for violin and piano. In addition to these, there are several other works without opus, including a piano sextet, 2 piano trios, a piano quintet, a sonata for violin & piano and an occasional piece for cello & piano.
Swiss Piano Trio
The Swiss Piano Trio with Martin Lucas Staub, piano, Angela Golubeva, violin and Sébastien Singer, cello has earned a remarkable reputation as an ensemble of exceptional homogeneity and technical perfection since its founding in 1998, whose interpretations inspire great emotion and orchestral sound.
“one of the very top piano trio ensembles on today’s stage” – U.S. magazine.