Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

The Florestan Trio plays Mozart

Susan Tomes, piano
Anthony Marwood, violin
Richard Lester, cello

Mozart Piano Trios Bb K502; E K542; G K564

I approached this release with anticipation tinged by misgivings; we have been trying to ration the Mozart onslaught this year, and have had bad experiences of concerts that might better not have been (e.g. Ascanio).

Mozart's piano trios, composed for domestic use, are well loved by amateur chamber music players and I used to enjoy playing them in years long ago, especially the G major one, his last - published in English and advertised as a "sonata for harpsichord or forte piano with the accompaniment of a violin and violoncello".

So what to expect of this highly professional group essaying this homely music, and on modern instruments? I am a devotee of historical instruments for the classics, as readers will know, but we had a bad experience of Mozart piano trios at a celebratory concert this year, when an unsatisfactory venue and misbalance with Sharona Joshua's fortepiano disappointed.

Mozart's contributions to the genre were composed for his own exceptional pianism, and they began to emancipate the strings; "when are we going to make a little Musique at your home again?" he wrote in June 1788, having just composed K542. Susan Tomes is an unsurpassable stylist, and she finds an ideal way to translate Mozart's conceptions for modern piano, with immaculate tone, touch and phrasing, well supported by her colleagues, and with her perfectly set up Steinway balanced with the strings by Simon Eadon at Henry Wood Hall, that oasis of calm close to South London's heavy traffic.

We have enjoyed them on three successive mornings at breakfast and I doubt Mozart would have disapproved; they make ideal home listening. Immaculately presented, Hyperion are promoting this CD as their record of the month, and I should not be surprised if others follow suit.

Buy it, and let me know if you come across a comparable CD realisation on fortepiano and gut strings?

© Peter Grahame Woolf