Though part of a series, this album could be a test case for the Trio’s ability to handle stylistic divergence. The Gaedes manage things well, giving each work its due, and tempering their innate facility and warmth of line with a sympathetic understanding for each composition. The Bach/Mozart is suitably spare and transparent in texture, the Françaix agile and poised. Despite its dodecaphonic nature, the Krenek is actually a lyrical, almost Romantic work at times, and that quality the Gaede Trio brings out in spades. The Beethoven hints at what is stylistically to come, but keeps its classical sang-froid: unsentimental but also unrushed, beautifully songful in the second movement, with great attention to detail and variety of texture and mood in the outer ones. This is playing that clearly has benefited from analysis, long experience, and teamwork, for which there are no shortcuts.
Above all, it’s rare to find a group that possesses both this unanimity of approach and a constant musical discourse in which all parties are clearly equal. They are capable of razor sharp unison attacks and hairpin dynamic effects, but have no problems in trading off center stage with the quicksilver rapidity demanded by Beethoven in his wittiest first-period manner.
For the record, the three members of the Trio are violinist Daniel Gaede, leader of the Vienna Philharmonic, violist Thomas Selditz, professor at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater, Hanover, and cellist Andreas Greger, principal of the Staatskapelle, Berlin. In 1991, all three were part of individual string trios that disbanded simultaneously. These musicians then decided to form a new string trio. With good liner notes and excellent sound, this release of theirs comes up a winner.