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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The Leipzig Circle, Vol. II, Chamber Music by Felix Mendelssohn, Clara and Robert Schumann, London Bridge Trio

I missed Vol. I of The Leipzig Circle. And I might well have missed Vol. II (SOMM Recordings SOMM CD 0619) if it wasn't that my status as a reviewer meant that it was available to me. I am glad of that. All three works are Piano Trios--No. 1 in D minor by Felix Mendelssohn, a sole trio in G minor by Clara Schumann, and No. 2 in F major by Robert Schumann. The London Bridge Trio (David Adams, violin, Daniel Tong, piano, and Kate Gould, cello) do an excellent job on the performance end, giving us a feelingly soaring reading that does not try to gain hearts-on-sleeves extremes, rather providing just enough emotive rubato to sound well as a present-day performance viewpoint.

Leipzig was renowned as the city where Bach presided for so many years over the Thomaskirche. It also had gained great fame for its superb Gewandhous Orchestra. And of course there are these illustrious musical voices of their time. All three works have a remarkable Romantic cantabile rhapsodishness. The three works are as alike to one another as they are different.

The Mendelssohn has a typically jaunty allegro finale and one of his brightly bubbling scherzo movements.

Clara's Piano Trio turns out to be very good, inventive, a welcome addition to the chamber music of the period and the locality of Leipzig. It rivals Robert's and Felix's effusive lyricism with its own spin on the Romantic piano trio.

The Robert Schumann will probably be familiar to many readers. It is typically fertile with thematic poignancy and developmental heft.

All-in-all this is a very worthy listen, a Romantic Chamber anthology that brightens your day when you are in the mood. Good show!

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