Piano trios, op. 99 & 100
Andreas Staier, piano
Daniel Sepec, violin
Roel Dieltiens, cello
Harmonia Mundi, 2016
Pianist and harpsichordist Andreas Staier has to his credit several recordings of music of the Baroque and Romantic periods and of Franz Schubert in particular. This time he recorded with a wonderful result Schubert’s Piano Trios, op. 99 and 100, with violinist Daniel Sepec and cellist Roel Dietiens.
Little is known about the genesis of the Trio in B flat major, op. 99, and even its composition date is uncertain. The New Grove Dictionary suggests that it was «composed, or at least began» in the autumn of 1827 and thus was written simultaneously to the other Trio, in E flat, op. 100. It was probably Schubert’s recent friendship with the pianist Bocklet, the violinist Schuppanzigh and the cellist Linke at the origin of these works, which are among his most important trios. The last piece of this recording, the short Nocturne, op.148, is performed as an intermezzo between the “major” works, but it was probably composed as the original slow movement of the Trio in E flat.
Staier, Sepec and Dietiens are three accomplished performers and the main feature they share is a natural, spontaneous elegance. They do not only play very well, but communicate in a telepathic manner and stress the different sound of the instruments in the rendition of the Trios. It happens that they put special emphasis on the crystalline colours of the piano and to the completely different, warmer sounds of the strings. This creates a positive and charming result and surrounds Schubert’s works with a powerful atmosphere.
The trio creates moments of lightness and amusement (listen for example to the witty Scherzo. Allegro of the first trio) and, immediately after, falls into melancholy and sadness (the Nocturne is the most representative piece in this case). What remains unchanged is the fluent sound of their instruments and the tenderness they infuse in Schubert’s music, which is the peculiarity of the album.