1. Variations in G Major on Wenzel Muller's Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu, Op. 121a (Piano Trio No. 11)
Piano Trio No. 7 in B flat major, Op. 97 ‘Archduke’:
2. I. Allegro moderato
3. II. Scherzo: Allegro
4. III. Andante cantabile ma pero con moto -
5. IV. Allegro moderato - Presto
Piano Trio in E-Flat Major, WoO 38:
6. I. Allegro moderato
7. II. Scherzo: Allegro ma non troppo
8. III. Rondo: Allegretto
Beethoven: 'Archduke' Piano Trio and Kakadu Variations
Ida Bieler, Nina Tichman, Maria Kliegel
Jerry Dubins | Fanfare, November 2013
There is only one thing I can say about this performance: It lives and it dwells among the Heavenly Host. Maria Kliegel swells on that note like none other I’ve heard, and Ida Bieler joins her in a chorus of beatific beauty. This may be the best “Archduke” I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard a lot of them.
Though I’m very familiar with cellist Maria Kliegel from many of her other excellent recordings, for some reason, I’ve not come across the Xyrion Trio’s earlier releases in this Naxos Beethoven series. But this I will tell you: Based on my hearing of the ensemble’s “Archduke” Trio alone, I intend to acquire the previous four volumes, for if the performances match the ones on the current disc, this should be one of the very best Beethoven piano trio cycles out there.
Released: February 25, 2013
Julian Haylock | The Strad, October 2013
Captured in a glowing, resonant acoustic, [Ida Bieler, Maria Kliegel and Nina Tichman] emphasise the music’s singing, cantabile qualities, gently cushioning Beethoven’s sforzando body blows to create a Schubertian world of enraptured poetics.
If the general tendency in this epic work is to emphasise the composer’s subversive tendencies and pseudo-orchestral gesturing, this team presents Beethoven as a Classical thinker, loosening expressive and temporal parameters with a velvet glove rather than railing at tradition in his hobnail boots. This approach reaches a climax in a finale that is all good-natured humour, bonhomie and contentment.
© 2013 The Strad | Read complete review
Greg Pagel | American Record Guide, September 2013
The performance is superb, played with assured continuity. Of particular merit is the execution of the mysterious introduction, where Beethoven changes mood and texture many times. Expressive markings appear on practically every note, and the players nail all of them without disrupting the overall line. Another high point is Variation 8, where the witty banter between the piano and strings is played up nicely.
© 2013 American Record Guide | Read complete review
Lynn René Bayley | Fanfare, July 2013
As I had already praised Kliegel for her extraordinary richness of tone and superb technique, and Tichman for her pearl-like accompaniments on piano, this leaves only Ida Bieler as the one musician in the group I hadn’t previously heard. She too has a wonderful combination of elegance and energy, making this perhaps one of the two or three finest piano trios working today. Certainly, the performances of the first two works on this disc, to my ears, compare very favorably to the legendary Thibaud-Cortot-Casals trio, which is saying much. Bieler’s bright, pointed violin tone…adds a wonderful brightness to the trio’s overall sound.
…[in] the early piano trio without opus number, in E♭…The trio, again, plays it with a nice combination of zest and elegance. In all, a worthwhile disc for Beethoven lovers…
© 2013 Fanfare | Read complete review
David Denton | David's Review Corner, March 2013
Spread over six years, this much acclaimed cycle of Beethoven’s music for piano trio comes to the end with the ‘Archduke’ his most famous work in the genre. It was dedicated to his pupil, Archduke Rudolph, and first performed in 1814 with Beethoven at the piano. Now almost totally deaf, his performance at the piano, according to contemporary reports, left a lot to be desired. It would have been particularly concerning as the keyboard is often called upon to dovetail with the two string instruments, and that must have created problems. The distinguished trio on this new release take a big and bold approach, the pianist, Nina Tichman, certainly holding the centre ground around which everything revolves. Her nimble fingers are well able to cope with the generally urgent tempos employed, particularly in the second movement scherzo. I then much enjoy the subtle colours of the strings in the slow movement, and a finale that is full of joy. Unpublished in his lifetime, Beethoven would have been around twenty when he composed the short Trio in E flat major. Full of youthful charm, it was still in the era when the cellist was mainly charged with the plodding bass line, though here, at least, it comes from the beautiful cello of Maria Kliegel. The ‘Kakadu’ Variations, based on a melody from a Singspiel by Wenzel Muller, are academically well constructed, though that fact takes second place to the happiness it brings to the listener.
© David’s Review Corner