Beethoven Piano Trios
THERE'S often some doubt when individual star soloists are brought together to form a chamber ensemble, and we've probably all witnessed that in festival concerts: three soloists do not necessarily a chamber group make. This trio, featuring violinist Isabelle Faust, cellist Jean Guihen Queyras and pianist Alexander Melnikov (playing fortepiano) are in a different league, with Melnikov and Faust, in particular, being seasoned chamber music partners, and cellist Queyras slotting in with them to the chamber manner born. But it's not their compatibility that makes this disc so gripping: it's the staggering insights that their historically informed playing of Beethoven's Archduke Trio brings to this, one of the greatest of all trios. Even those of us terminally seduced by the rich old version of the Archduke by the Stern/Istomin/Rose Trio will be ignited by the translucence, transparency and lightness of this version, with Melnikov's fortepiano playing as taut and crisp as a smack across the face. Absolutely brilliant.