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Since its founding in 1976, the Abegg Trio can already look back on a 30-year career. It shows us that through the search for constant originality and innovation, a piano trio can still remain daringly fresh. Although these works are the first exploring steps of a young genius, they already contain much of Mozart’s later responsive spirit. And the Abeggs’ approach to Mozart’s earliest chamber music is significant. The Abegg Trio is a very flexible ensembleits members adapt themselves to the authentic world of Mozart’s music. This set of early piano trios was not included in any complete trios set. They were meant primarily as piano sonatas. Accompaniment of a violin or a flute appeared in the first edition of the score, and was later extended with an optional cello in the second edition. For this occasion, violinist Ulrich Beetz and cellist Birgit Erichson have chosen to play on gut strings. Pianist Gerrit Zitterbart plays on a 1749 Silbermann Hammerflügel, an instrument with a particularly refined and suitable sound. For the Divertimento in B, K 254 (the only mature work on this disc), Zitterbart plays on a tangent piano. Generally, the natural flow of this music should be kept simple and uncomplicated. That’s exactly what the Abegg Trio has understood; they transmit these little gems with spontaneity and wit. Both string-players are well aware that their parts are mainly for coloring. Their care for balance is very refined and proves that they understand the art of ensemble playing very well. Intonation is not an issue here; it is flawless, with impeccable precision. The detailed care for subtle phrasing they give is something I especially adored. The sound of this recording is fine, albeit a little chilly and over-reverberant. It’s my opinion that Mozart’s early music should sound more intimate and warm. But it’s still good enough that I thoroughly enjoyed these performances. Reference recordings are hard to find, if not impossible. On my quest in shops and second-hand stores, I was unable to find anything with which to compare these specific recordings. The Philips complete edition contains the early trios only in their original form as piano sonatas, accompanied by violin. These are performed by Gerard Poulet and Blandine Verlet—fine and reliable performances, although a bit outdated by now. The divertimento K 254 is a lot easier to compare; fresh in our memory is the elusive performance of the Florestan Trio, available on Hyperionhard to beat, especially with superior sound quality and transparent playing. This release of some rarely recorded Mozart is a real keeper. Mozart completists, looking for an original addition to their collection, should certainly have this one on their shelf. Bravo, Tacet! Bart Verhaeghe

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