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Penguin Guide, January 2009

Another attractive collection to demonstrate the melodic immediacy of Zemlinsky’s appeals. The Clarinet Trio is lusciously fluent; the Cello Sonata is passionate and lyrical by turns, with a lonely, meditative central Andante. The Three Pieces for Cello and Piano (Humoreske Lied, and Tarantell) are as diverting, varied and attractive as one would expect from this very winning composer. The performances are first rate and the recording has fine immediacy and excellent balance.

James H. North
Fanfare, September 2008

Pianist Hinterhuber strikes me as the driving force in all three performances; he has a fine feeling for Zemlinsky, striding along where his fellow artists are merely playing the notes. Müller and Ottensamer are equally fine musicians, but are more reticent; I do not sense a real feeling for the music at hand. The recorded sound may exaggerate the differences; it is pleasant enough but not carefully balanced, allowing the piano to take advantage of its inherent power, at times swamping the cello and the clarinet…Naxos disc is recommended to Zemlinsky fanciers as a look back into his early years of composition.

Karl Lozier
Positive Feedback Online, August 2008

This recording has turned out to be almost a gem to me. I love the sounds that the cello plus piano and clarinet make together and here with Zemlinsky's compositions I am hearing melodies much of the time while clearly hearing the piano and the other two instruments. While I think the sound quality is quite excellent overall, somehow the rich upper bass to lower midrange of the cello does not seem quite as apparent as it should be. The clarinet seems just fine and the piano as with much chamber music seems to really dominate…give these Zemlinsky compositions a fair trial and hopefully you will enjoy them as much as I have.

Bob McQuiston
Classical Lost and Found, June 2008


Cellist Othmar Müller and clarinetist Ernst Ottensamer may not be that well known by name, but their exemplary performances here speak for themselves. Christopher Hinterhuber is fast establishing himself as one of today’s finest pianists through his previous recordings for Naxos of works by Johann Nepomuk Hummel (8.557845) and Ferdinand Ries (8.557638 & 8.557844). This release finds him in equally fine form and should enhance his reputation all the more.

The recorded sound on this disc is outstanding. Appropriate microphones and an excellent sense of balance between the soloists insure all three of their instruments come across with an amazing naturalness of tone. A venue suited to this type of chamber music, and ideal microphone placement ensure a soundstage of just the right proportions. Great music as well as exceptional sound make this a must for romantics and audiophiles alike.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2008

Known today almost entirely by his operas, Zemlinsky wrote in every genre, though his younger years were mainly given to chamber music. Born in Austria in 1871, he was to become a close friend of Schoenberg who, together with Mahler, encouraged him to follow a career as a composer. It was, however, as a conductor that he became best known, though sadly with the onset of war he fled to the United States in 1938, dying there four years later. Many of his early works were thought lost, but theThree Pieces for Cello and the Cello Sonata were found by the cellist, Raphael Wallfisch, them among the possessions of his father, a distinguished pianist who also fled from the grip of the Nazi party. Subsequently edited by the Zemlinsky authority, Antony Beaumont, you could well believe they came from the young Richard Strauss, the melodic content warm and robust, the piano given equal status with the cello. Dates of composition are uncertain, but both come from the early 1890’s, the Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano following in 1896. Here he seems to be trying too hard to create a work of substance, good thematic material evading him. The cellist, Othmar Muller, is better known as the founder of the Artis Quartet, an ensemble that has gained many awards for its recordings. He is a persuasive Zemlinsky advocate, and his intonation exemplary. His partner, Christopher Hinterhuber, is a pianist who needs little introduction having already established a growing career on the concerto platform. Completing the trio is Ernst Ottensamer, principal clarinet of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Together they make out the best possible case for the music. Something is not ideal with the recording in the Three Pieces where in loud passages we seem to have two cellos slightly out of synchronization. Otherwise all is well.

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