The Strad Issue: January 2012
Description: Fire and lyricism characterise performances of Mendelssohn’s trios
Musicians: Shaham–Erez–Wallfisch Trio
Composer: Mendelssohn, Schumann (arr. Kirchner)

For their recording debut as a trio, the cellist Raphael Wallfisch joins the long-established duo partnership of violinist Hagai Shaham and pianist Aron Erez in two of Mendelssohn’s most popular chamber pieces. The restrained opening cello theme of the D minor work sets the scene for three distinguished soloists playing together as if for their own pleasure, never for a moment upstaging one another in a movement that can so often become a series of accompanied solos. Throughout the score they bring ample fire and excitement at the appropriate moments, and parts of the finale reach a white-heat intensity in an account that sings of love and passion.

The C minor Trio has never enjoyed the same popularity, but these players bring a spontaneity that captures the lyrical fervour of the work’s outer movements, and the Andante espressivo moves with more urgency than we normally hear. String intonation is not without question, but the disc comes close to my benchmark recording from the Florestan Trio (Hyperion), which has the advantage of more numerous subtle nuances.   

Completing a well-recorded and generously filled disc is a lovely performance of Theodor Kirchner’s seldom-played adaptation of Schumann’s canonic studies, an account that offers much greater fun than the work’s title might suggest.