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Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, May 2012

There’s considerable recorded competition in Chopin’s trio…but the Kungsbacka Trio doesn’t disappoint. The ensemble’s players throw themselves into the music with a good deal of fervor, and in their hands it sounds a riper and more mature effort than the youthful work it is.

…the entire program on this disc is a collection of some of Chopin’s earliest works; to be as generous as possible, let’s just say that you wouldn’t necessarily recognize most of these pieces as being by Chopin. That doesn’t mean, however, that the music isn’t enjoyable. The flute piece is particularly charming and, short as it is, in five minutes’ time it affords the flutist ample opportunity to display his or her technical skill. Emily Beynon does so superbly, maintaining a smooth, even, sweet tone throughout, and you will not hear a single breath break or intake.

The flute piece, the rondo for two pianos, the mazurka, and the Valse mélancolique all qualify as the type of music one might have expected to hear in Europe’s 19th-century salons, which is not a criticism, for they are well made and of good quality, even if they don’t yet entirely bear the fingerprints of the composer who would become Chopin. The closest we come to that, I think, is in the very touching waltz, which exhibits a characteristic halting rhythm broken by rests and, only 24 bars into the piece, an exquisite shift from F♯-Minor to F♯-Major. The Kungsbacka Trio’s pianist, Simon Crawford-Phillips, plays the piece with real feeling for its “valse triste” mood.

The Piano Trio, of course, is the main item on the menu, and in terms of its scale, quality of material, and compositional strength, it’s really quite remarkable that Chopin could have written it at pretty much the same time he composed all of these other pieces.

Performances and recording are excellent, and instead of coupling the piano trio with another like work by another composer, Naxos offers an interesting alternative in presenting an all-Chopin collection of some of his earliest works all written during his formative years. Definitely recommended. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare

David W Moore
American Record Guide, March 2012

The variations for flute and piano on ‘Non piu mesta’ from Rossini’s Cenerentola is important...because it is a lovely work in its own right, played beautifully by Beynon and Simon Crawford-Phillips from the Kungsbacka Trio. He joins Moore in the Rondeau for two pianos, Op. 73…and plays the Valse and the Mazurka, both works the composer didn’t give an opus number. This is a pleasant program recorded with a rich smoothness and played convincingly. © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide online

Jessica Duchen
BBC Music Magazine, February 2012

It isn’t easy to find rarities from a composer who has been as microscopically investigated as Chopin, but apparently it’s still possible. This CD opens with an enchanting 1828 Rondo for two pianos, written when Chopin was 18. It proves a fresh and joyous discovery, treated with plenty of TLC by the engaging duo of Simon Crawford-Philips and Philip Moore. © 2012 BBC Music Magazine

David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2011

Gathering together some of the byways from Chopin’s brief output we discover a teenage composer seeking a personal voice. That his output would be dominated by the piano music is evident in the Piano Trio where the strings play a subordinate role to the keyboard. It came from his eighteenth year and showed a musician of potential outstanding ability. It was dedicated to Prince Radziwill, a talented cellist whom he hoped would become his patron, though we do not know who Chopin had in mind for the rather undemanding violin part. Maybe it is only the composer’s name that keeps the work on the fringe of the repertoire, but when played with such affection—as here by the Kungsbacka Piano Trio—the work reveals its many charms, not least the delicate and unhurried second-movement scherzo. Maybe he did not find memorable material for the following Adagio sostenuto, but the finale is joyful in a lazy dance tempo. Though published posthumously, the Rondeau for two pianos comes from the same year, the two players given equal status. The Kungsbacka’s pianist, Simon Crawford-Phillips is here joined be his regular duo partner, Philip Moore  It may well be that the Variations for flute and piano on ‘Non piu mesta’ from Rossini’s La Cenerentola dated from four years earlier. It is a piece of gentle virtuosity, played here with easy brilliance by the Welsh-born, Emily Beynon, principal flute of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Whether the Valse melancolique is by Chopin is still open to doubt, but the Mazurka, published thirty years after his death, was from his hand. Realistic and well-balanced sound quality.

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