Thursday, 14 July 2011

CD Reviews (The Straits Times, July 2011)

MOZART Divertimento, K.563
SCHUBERT String Trio, D.471
Trio Zimmerman
BIS SACD-1817 / ****1/2

A string trio refers to a combo of violin, viola and cello, an ensemble that was popular during the Classical era, a time when the string quartet had established itself as the dominant vehicle of expression in chamber music. Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert all wrote string trios, neglected works relative to their string quartets. Mozart’s 48-minute-long Trio from 1788 was titled Divertimento, literally a diversion, even a ploy to popularise the medium as one well-suited for light entertainment.

In six movements, it looks forward to the multi-movement delights of Beethoven’s Serenade (Op.8), Septet (Op.20) and Schubert’s Octet. Here, Mozart juxtaposes the serious and sober, notably the opening movement in sonata form and an introspective Adagio, with the more light-hearted dances. There are two Minuets separated by a theme and variations based on a rustic Andante, before closing with a cheerful finale. This and Schubert’s single movement Trio are highly amicable if not memorable music. The trio of violinist Frank Peter Zimmerman, violist Antoine Tamestit and cellist Christian Poltera, all marvellous soloists in their own right, sound like having fun. This, after all, is the true essence of Hausmusik.

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