- Piano Trio in E flat major, Op. 70/2
- Piano Trio in D major ("Ghost"), Op. 70/1
- Trio for clarinet (or violin), cello & piano No. 4 in B flat major ("Gassenhauer"), Op. 11
The Beethoven trio recordings by Canada's Gryphon Trio have all been unusually strong, richly detailed performances, and this release, which rounds out the series, is no exception. Both violinist Annalee Patipatanakoon and cellist Roman Borys were students of cellist Menahem Pressler of the Beaux Arts Trio, and these performances may remind the listener of the sparkling yet intellectually substantial Beethoven recordings of that classic ensemble. The outer movements of the two Op. 70 trios are light and sharp, with irresistible forward momentum that never obscures smaller harmonic details. Patipanakoon's smoky tone is a bit unusual, but you see the reason for it in the slow movements -- it heightens the unearthly effects that give the "Ghost" trio its nickname and places both movements among the most unusual artifacts of Beethoven's middle period. The early "Piano Trio in B flat major, Op. 11," with its concluding set of variations, is a bit less amenable to the trio's approach and comes as a bit of a letdown at the end. But that's only because the performances of the two Op. 70 trios are so fine. The beautiful picture is rounded out by the sonorous, clear acoustics of the Salle Françoys-Bernier, a space at the festival grounds of Domaine Forget in rural Quebec. Strongly recommended! Notes are in French and English.