- Piano Trio in E flat major, Op. 2
- Piano Trio in C minor, Op. 143
auto-inserted 09-17-2014 15:56:46
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Ferdinand Ries was a slightly younger contemporary of Beethoven and even studied piano with him for a time. Like Beethoven, Ries took composition with Johann Georg Albrechtsberger. The resemblance of Ries' music to Beethoven's own was so close that Beethoven himself once complained about it. Nevertheless, as CPO's Ferdinand Ries: Piano Trios makes clear, it was not a second-string, watered-down kind of imitation. Ries managed to tap into the source stream of Beethoven's brand of early Romanticism and made some definitive, if not wholly individual, statements within its boundaries. Of the two piano trios presented here, the "Piano Trio Op. 143 in C minor" is by far the better; its stormy moodiness and seamless forward development brings Mendelssohn to mind, and some of the more fanciful figurations in the piano part reflects the influence of Mozart. The "Piano Trio Op. 2 in E flat major" is more straightforward and is basically indistinguishable from the piano trios found in Beethoven's Opus 1 set, except that it is more conservative and less dynamic. The performance by the Mendelssohn Trio Berlin is fine; obviously the group knows Ries' idiom well from the models upon which he draws, and this results in a very gracious, natural, and flowing performance of both pieces. CPO's recording could be better, though -- it is nasal and somewhat constricted.