Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, May 2009

The Kungsbacka Trio is a modern-instruments ensemble, but it plays stylishly and tastefully. Translation: articulation is crisp, vibrato is minimal, tempos are spirited in allegro movements and forward moving in andante movements, open strings are not avoided, and first-movement exposition repeats are taken.

For those who don’t already have one or more versions of these trios in their collections and/or who are not uncompromising advocates for period instruments, the Kungsbacka Trio can be recommended for very fine playing, and Naxos’s recording, at a price that can’t be beat, is excellent. A most satisfying first installment of Mozart’s six piano trios; I look forward to its completion.

Paul L Althouse
American Record Guide, March 2009

I reviewed their recording of Schubert’s E-flat Trio [8.555700], where I admired their relaxed, affectionate approach to the music; they let it unfold without overplaying or undue emphasis.

If anything, this release makes an even stronger impression. You are struck immediately by the crisp, musical playing of pianist Simon Crawford-Phillips, who brings energy to Mozart without ever sounding metronomic or mechanical. He is ably matched by violinist Malin Broman, who shares many themes with the piano and plays with both vitality and grace. Jesper Svedberg, the poor cellist, gets scarcely any thematic material in these pieces.

One suspects he’s there to balance the stage and fill in just in case the pianist misses some left-hand notes. The music is wonderful—not the most profound Mozart, but delightful nonetheless—with some wonderful twists of harmony in the opening movement of K 496. We have other fine recordings of this music, notably by the Florestan and Fontenay Trios, but the Kungsbacka are also fine. At Naxos’s attractive price you can’t go wrong.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2008

Following their success in the prestigious Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, their fast growing reputation has placed the Kungsbacka Trio on the international concert circuit.

Formed in 1997, it takes its name from the Swedish town who offered them their concert debut, and soon after promoted by the European Concert Hall Organisation as ‘Rising Stars’, they subsequently toured the major concert venues on both sides of the Atlantic. They now add to their catalogue of recordings the first disc in a complete cycle of Mozart’s Piano Trios that includes the early Divertimento, K.254, his first mature work in this form. In addition to that score, the first volume contains the trios K.496 and 502, both from his mature period and completed in 1786. As one has come to expect from the Kungsbacka, the performances are elegant and immaculately played. They do not try to conceal, as is common today, that Mozart still tended to view piano trios in their established form as works for piano with string accompaniment. Simon Crawford-Phillips fully enjoys the piano concerto aspects of K.502, which he plays with the staccato that would have come from a period instrument. The opening Allegro of K.496 has the required imposing sweep, while in the slow movements Jesper Svedberg underlines Mozart’s intention of emancipation the cello from its previous accompanying role. The opening of K.502 does sound a little breathless, but is balanced by the lyric approach to the central Larghetto, and the finale of K.496 bubbles with happiness. I would have preferred the recording to have bonded the piano more closely with the strings, though in terms of clarity it is outstanding.

Giv Cornfield
The New Recordings, Cliffs Classics, November 2008

This trio of young musicians takes its strange-sounding name from the 'Swedish town in which it gave its first performance, and where it has established an annual festival'. Well, this sounds exotic, if not immediately endearing to non-Swedes. That minor detail aside, these people know their Mozart, and give these trios bouncy (perhaps a bit too much so) readings that Mozart would have enjoyed: bright, brash and with more than a modicum  of good humour. I for one agree: Mozart does not belong on a pedestal!

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group