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Elaine Fine
American Record Guide, November 2009

This third volume of piano trios is every bit as exceptional as the first volume [8.557723]…I have been impressed with every recording I have heard by cellist Maria Kliegel, especially the ones with pianist Nina Tichman. Ida Bieler, the violinist in the Xyrion Trio, is also extraordinary; a perfect chamber music partner for Kliegel and Tichman.

Beethoven wrote his Second Symphony in 1802 and made this arrangement for piano trio in 1803. Listening to this transcription is a study in orchestration in reverse. The extremely familiar orchestral colors come immediately to the mind. They were in Beethoven’s mind as well while he was making this transcription, and they were in the minds of the members of the Xyrion Trio while they were rehearsing and recording the piece.

It is very interesting and enlightening to hear how Beethoven handles the problem of the distribution of material among the two hands of the piano and the violin and the cello. The transcription does, of course, lack the color and body of the original, and I believe that these musicians have made a good choice not to attempt to sound orchestral. They approach the piece freshly as a work of chamber music, and they give it a very effective and lively reading.

The final piece on this recording might be the first piece that Beethoven wrote for piano trio. It is a very charming and very short posthumously-published (1955) Minuet from early 1790s while he was working in Bonn.

Burton Rothleder
Fanfare, November 2009

This is a strong performance by the Xyrion Trio. Formed in 2001, it is considered one of Germany’s best young trios. Pianist Nina Tichman, violinist Ida Bieler, and cellist Maria Kliegel play all movements [of the Piano Trio Op 1 No 3] admirably. The second movement variations are especially attractive in this performance, and the power instilled in the final movement brings this trio to a memorable conclusion. Exposition repeats in the first and fourth movement are observed…This is my first encounter with Beethoven’s piano-trio arrangement of his Second Symphony. I listened first before reading the jewel case notes and was impressed with the mastery of the arrangement…The brief Allegretto that concludes this disc was composed shortly before the op. 1 trios.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2009

The third volume in this complete Beethoven piano trio cycle offers a rare opportunity to hear the composer’s piano trio arrangement of his Second Symphony. The young man had found a welcome and a home in the house of Prince Carl Lichnowsky, and it was while there that his first three trios were published in 1795—when the composer was twenty-five—and dedicated to the Prince. Whether this third trio was composed earlier or around that time is unclear, but the earlier ones more probably came from teenage years. It is certainly full of highly attractive melodic invention, and has rightfully taken its place among the most popular works in the chamber repertoire. Seven years later he had completed the Second Symphony, also dedicated to the Prince, and it showed how quickly Beethoven’s vision of music was expanding into new realms. At that time he was looking for ways to increase his income, which was probably the reason he made this trio arrangement. Beethoven inherited the convention of placing the violin and piano at much the same level of importance with the cello’s role reduced to underpinning them. He was to change that in the future, but it was still the case in the C minor trio, and even more so in the symphony arrangement. That was a transcription any competent musician could have made, the content a literal view of the symphony devoid of any effort to recreate orchestral colours. As a filler we have the short and very early Allegretto unpublished in his lifetime. Nina Tichman’s piano playing is a tower of strength, and mercurial when needed. Violinist, Ida Bieler and Maria Kliegel’s cello are good, but unlike their earlier recordings, the engineers have set the piano well to the fore and without compromising the clarity of the trio in tutti passages.

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