‘Best modern recording of Schumann’s D minor Trio’

18th December 2011 | Florestan Trio, Reviews | 5 comments

Yesterday Radio 3’s ‘Building a Library’ feature on CD Review focused on Schumann’s first piano trio, in D minor opus 63. Erica Jeal’s overall recommendation was for a 1958 recording of Emil Gilels, Msistlav Rostropovich and Leonid Kogan, and her choice for the best modern recording was the Florestan Trio. Schumann’s first trio was a piece particularly dear to us in the Florestan Trio.

You can listen again to Erica Jeal’s recommendations here.


  1. Matthew

    Do you have any thoughts about the recording by the three famous Russians? I’ve never heard it.

    • Susan Tomes

      No, I have never heard that 1958 recording of Gilels and co – in fact I didn’t even know it existed! I shall certainly check it out.

  2. Paul Austen

    I missed the programme live but have listened to it on the Listen Again facility. In a sense it would be too late for me as I already have the Florestan recordings of the trios which I bought last year during a general splurge on Florestan recordings of Brahams, Schumann and Schubert chamber works!! Not that I am biased of course!!! But the competition they compared against was formidable, but it doesn’t surprise me, Susan, that again your recording is up there at the very top!! Many congratulations!! :o))

    I did enjoy Wednesday’s recital so much and seeing you again and the drink and (my 2nd of the day!!) pizza after with you all. It struck me after what I find so enjoyable about your Mozart playing: I feel frustrated by pianists who, when playing modern pianos, try to restrain the sound perhaps thinking of the smaller sound of pianos that Mozart knew and played. But you are not afraid to use the tonal resources of the modern piano and that for me brings out the full passion of Mozart’s music. After all, his and Beethoven’s piano music was pushing to the brink – and beyond! – of the capabilities of the instruments of their day!!

  3. violinist

    Yes, all your fans already knew what the ptogram told us about the best modern recording. And hearing the piece in performance by others is now spoiled by the standard set by that disc. There’s something about the way you sneak into the music from the first measure that opens up the whole trio in just the right way. The shifts in mood seem just right, too, as though you talked to Schumann about it all and agreed on everything.

    My respect only grew when our (amateur) trio was assigned the first movement at music camp a few years back. It was an impossible feat to produce the constant drama packed into that one movement. Our coach pointed out one thing that remains a lot of fun to listen for in the piece: there’s a passage that sounds like a big circus bear towards the end of the first movement, and we decided it was a Russian bear. And after we returned home, our pianist confirmed that yes, the Schumanns had been to Russia not long before the trio was composed. Your rendering of the bear scene is just right, too!

    Thanks for a wonderful, immortal disc.

  4. peter

    Susan — May I use this mention of Schumann to point you to the chamber music of Louise Farrenc? Her piano quintets and piano trios are simply superb – robust themes, subtle harmonies, and challenging parts. Her sound world is very Mendelssohnian, and Schumann was a fan of her music. She sacrificed her own career as a composer to care for her ill daughter (a great pianist, who died young) and to complete the historical musicology of her husband after his death. She has been unjustly neglected – too Germanic for 19th-century French tastes, apparently, and too female for German or British tastes.


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