The inclusion of Clara Schumann’s Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in G minor op. 17 in a cd featuring the Brahms Double Concerto, with the Czech Philharmonic led by Manfred Honeck, becomes for many the main event in a SONY CD simply titled with the names of its artists and its composers.

The SONY cd features violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, cellist Pablo Fernandez and pianist Lambert Orkis, playing marvelously the rarely heard Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in G minor, op. 17 – a delightful piece of chamber music and a perfect sample of the unjustly neglected work of Robert Schumann’s Clara – a superb composer and a great pianist in her own right, who after the death of her husband continued to be Johannes Brahms’ friend and muse for years to come in an arguably platonic relationship so defined by their age difference.

Clara’s insecurity about her talent was evident when in 1839 at age twenty, she wrote: “I once believed that I possessed creative talent, but I have given up this idea; a woman must not desire to compose—there has never yet been one able to do it. Should I expect to be the one?

Written in 1846 when Clara was 27 years old, the G minor trio is a fully mature work, clear in structure, inspired in melody, inventive in its harmony, contrapuntally clear, and noble in spirit – the creation of an artist finally sure of herself.

The playing of Anne Sophie Mutter, Pablo Fernández, and Lambert Orkis is that of three equal partners who make music as if they had been playing together for many years. Led by conductor Manfred Honeck, they also deliver an elegant performance of Brahms’ Double Concerto with the Czech Philharmonic. The engineering and the packaging of the album are enhanced by the no-nonsense notes of Anne-Sophie Mutter.

Rafael de Acha © 2022

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