- Piano Trio in C minor, Op. 1/3
- Piano Trio in D major (transcription of Symphony No. 2 by composer), Op. 36
- Piano Trio in E flat major ("Allegretto"), Hess 48
Ludwig van Beethoven's "Piano Trio in C minor Op. 1/3," published in 1795, was the work that first announced his arrival on the scene and caught the public's fancy; its violent dynamic contrasts and long-limbed melodic gestures were something fresh and new. In this "Piano Trio," the strictures of classical form were observed, but Beethoven's mighty themes and dramatic gestures seemed set to burst it at the seams, and even more of Beethoven's revolutionary ideas were in store for a Europe then preoccupied with the very idea of revolution, both in its challenges and its consequences. Of course, the revolution represented by Beethoven's "C minor Piano Trio" has long since past and it has become a standard repertory item, recorded many times, and well -- by the Beaux Arts, Stern-Rose-Istomin, Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson, and so forth on down the line. So what's a young group like the Xyrion Trio to do in order to get attention in such a crowded field? To play Beethoven's music as though it were "new" again; this performance is crisp, fleet, sharp in attack, and more inherently classical in terms of tempo and phrasing than many other interpretations. It is a joy to behold, not "revisionist," and any Beethovenians will cherish it no matter how many recordings they might already own of the "C minor Piano Trio." It is paired, unusually, with Beethoven's "other" "D major Piano Trio" -- not the "Ghost," but his arrangement of the "Symphony No. 2 for piano trio," played here as if it was initially intended as a chamber work, rather than as the weak sister to a symphony. There is far less competition on recordings for this "Trio," and for the little "Allegretto in E flat, Hess 48," tagged onto the end of the disc, an early piece that nevertheless contains some of Beethoven's characteristic syncopations and recognizable personality traits. This Xyrion Trio release is a first-class production and a steal at Naxos' reasonable price point; it easily holds up the high standard already observed in the first two volumes in this valuable series.