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Clarinet Trios
Johannes Brahms (1833 -1897)
Clarinet Trio op. 114

Paul Juon (1872 - 1940)
Three miniatures op. 18
Rêverie, Humoreske, Elegie

Robert Kahn (1865 -1951)
Clarinet Trio op. 45

Norbert Kaiser, Klarinette
Francis Gouton, Violoncello
Saoli Saito, Klavier

HERA 02113 [2003, 60 mins] http://editionhera.de/index.htm

Here is an excellently played and recorded selection of music for the standard clarinet trio, and perhaps it augurs a new and welcome trend, exemplified in Peter Sheppard's Beethoven Explored series for Metier. Sated with 'canonic' masterworks, maybe one of them is enough for a listening session, or a CD? Certainly I am attracted to review unique programmes such as offered by Trio Bornale, with novelties alongside recognised classics.

Instead of the obvious coupling of the Brahms trio with Beethoven's, Trio Bornale has sought out two works for the same combination derived from Brahms' example. Both composers lived through to the mid-20 C; each is of 'post-romantic' persuasion and uninterested in the avant garde developments which surrounded them. No big surprises here though. Robert Kahn lived in exile in London from 1939 until his death. He became close to Brahms, dedicated his first violin sonata to Joachim and taught piano to Wilhelm Kempff. Melodically memorable, instrumentally exciting with virtuoso keyboard writing, Kahn's 1906 22 minutes trio is an endearing, well constructed work which would stand up well in any recital, and this world premiere recording deserves to be not its last.

Paul Juon, known as the "Russian Brahms", came to live in Berlin and is represented by three pleasing but relatively slight salon pieces, effective transcriptions by the composer from piano solo originals. Undemanding, and suitably relaxing between the two more strenuous works.

The players are versatile, busy musicians from Stuttgart, and are well recorded in the Hochschule there. Immaculate, informative presentation by Hera, with a good collection of photo illustrations of the composers and their interpreters.

© Peter Grahame Woolf