9/10 Reference Recording - This one. "Ever since Brahms penned his masterful trio for clarinet, cello, and piano, numerous composers have been attracted to the rich timbral possibilities offered by this instrumental combination. The four-movement Trio by Wilhelm Berger (1861-1911) offers a less upholstered version of Brahms′ grounded cross-rhythms, plus felicitous registral intertwining between the cello and clarinet. Too bad the melodies aren′t especially memorable. The earnestly crafted but harmonically monotonous Serenade in F minor by Robert Kahn (1865-1951) seems longer than its actual 11-minute length. But the Clarinet Trio in A minor in the form of variations, composed by Hermann Zilcher (1881-1948), is an absolute gem--indeed, a masterpiece waiting to be dispicsed. The work is more Franco-Russian than German in thematic and harmonic character. It boasts gorgeous, translucent textures and wistful lyric strength, culminating in an unexpected light-hearted coda. While Hans Dietrich Klaus′ high clarinet notes have a pinched quality that prevents his long lines from fully soaring, he is no less sensitive a musician than his splendid partners. The Trio Paideia makes cogent cases for these pieces, and its flowingly dovetailed ensemble work will be admired by anyone interested in the fringes of the chamber repertoire."
Jed Distler

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