Bruch Brahms Beethoven

Bruch Brahms Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Trio in B flat major, Op. 11 for Piano, Clarinet and Cello

Max Bruch (1884-1943)
Nos l, 2, 3, and 6 from Eight Pieces for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano, Op. 83.

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano in A Minor, Op. 114

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Gramophone Magazine, (UK)

Gramophone Magazine, (UK)

The jacket cover on Ensemble Liaison’s new recording show the musicians floating on air. They have a similarly elevating effect on the trios for clarinet, cello and piano by Beethoven, Brahms and Bruch that constitute the disc’s repertoire.

Beethoven’s Trio in B-flat major, Op 11, begins at a frisky clip, its first-movement marking of Allegro con brio given full, fleet consideration. Clarinettist David Griffiths, cellist Svetlana Bogosavljevic and pianist Timothy Young emphasise the score’s Classicism, shaping the score with trim and tender assurance. The Adagio’s lyricism enjoys nuanced definition, and the ensemble manages to be both giddy and elegant in the finale’s buoyant variations.

As they do in the Beethoven, Griffiths and Bogosavljevic keep vibrato in check in Brahms’ Trio in A minor, Op114, while applying ample warmth to the poetic writing. With Young maintaining sure balances, the performers sensitively limn the composer’s distinctive blend of Classical and Romantic elements.

Ensemble Liaison’s artistry is so attuned to animated and songful gestures that a listener may regret that only four of Bruch’s Eight Pieces for Clarinet, Cello and Piano, Op 83, are offered here. Even so, the musicians are supremely refined – and controlled: listen to Griffiths’ exceptional command of soft dynamics – as they revel in the wistful, rapturous and proud writing.

So, would it be too much to ask that they perform the other half of the collection on their next disc?

Donald Rosenberg