"The chamber works of Chopin have taken a back seat to his solo piano pieces, but this is an absolutely lovely trio that should be more heard than it is. Though an early work, it is the epitome of a skilled and polished Romantic period composition. Scriabin said of Chopin “almost from the first opus he was a complete composer, with a quite special individuality.” Danish composer Gade had more ties to Schumann and Mendelssohn’s styles than to Chopin’s and while his pieces here are full of affecting melody they seem rather second-string after Chopin. The ABEGG Trio has made more than 20 recordings and are topflight players. Tubed mikes were used for the most natural string tone, and like all DVD-As there is a Dolby Digital 5.1 layer if you don’t happen to have a DVD-A-capable player. There is a subtle but noticeable degradation of the string and piano tone if limited to this option. Tacet’s spatial experimentation continues apace with this hi-res DVD. They refer to it as attempting to use the whole acoustic space for the musical experience, and they are certainly doing that. The violin here is on the left front, the cello on the right front, and the piano behind the listener. Producer Andreas Spreer says that most trio recordings group the two string instruments very close to the grand piano and the result is too little spatial presence and too similar information coming to the listener from the same direction. By placing the Bosendorfer Imperial Grand at the rear by itself, the full grandeur of its magnificent tone can come thru without competition from the two strings. (But if your surrounds are not full range or if you don’t have a rear subwoofer you won’t get that extra low bass heft due to the Bosendorfer’s additional keys. Actually Tacet doesn’t use the LFE channel, so my rear sub had no signal for it.) It’s an interesting effect for sure; at first I felt a bit like Lucy leaning against Schroeder’s piano, but after awhile it didn’t seem so topsy-turvy. Bear in mind the violin is not confined strictly to the left front channel nor the cello to the right - there is leakage to the center and opposite speakers, and the piano is already heard at a lower level from all three frontal speakers. So even playing the disc with the surrounds entirely off one has a pleasant enough balance of the three instruments - it just sounds as though the piano was miked rather distantly - something like most of the Nimbus piano recordings if you don’t play them back with Ambisonic decoding."
John Sunier

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