The Strad Issue: January 2011
Description: Well-judged performances of three of Beethoven’s piano trios
Musicians: Gryphon Trio
Composer: Beethoven

Achieving the spectral effects in the second movement of Beethoven’s ‘Ghost’ Trio calls for great care in balancing instruments. The members of the Gryphon Trio judge it to perfection, and this is just one example of the subtle nuances that characterise the performances throughout the disc. Tempos in the outer movements of the ‘Ghost’ are brisk, with the playful view of the final Rondo quite delightful. Despite a few questions of intonation, this is an account that succeeds through its sense of spontaneity.

Its companion piece in op.70 is totally different, its sombre opening setting the scene for Classical restraint. The Gryphon’s strings give Jamie Parker’s piano the dominating role in the two central movements.

Without the first-movement repeat in the ‘Ghost’, there is room on the disc for the op.11 Trio. This is robust and jolly in its outer movements, as Parker’s mercurial fingers dance around the string accompaniment, but its central Adagio unfolds with a natural repose.  

In all three scores, changes of pulse and dynamic shadings are well handled, yet I miss the individual views from all three members of the Florestan Trio that makes their recordings (Hyperion) so interesting. Analekta’s sound is commendably detailed.