Ferdinand Ries was first Beethoven's pupil, then his friend, and finally the co-author of a book called Beethoven Remembered. This two-disc set from Brilliant fittingly joins the master's two trios for clarinet, cello, and piano with the pupil's trio for the same ensemble plus two of his Sonatas for clarinet and piano. And though with their memorable themes and inventive use of standard forms, Beethoven's prove the better works; Ries', with their catchy tunes and skillful modulations, are still quite charming. Beethoven's trios -- his well-known "Gassenhauer" Trio, Op. 11, and his much less well-known arrangement of the Septet, Op. 20 -- are given warm, strong, and witty performances by clarinetist Vlad Weverbergh, cellist Benjamin Glorieux, and pianist Vasily Ilisavsky. Weverbergh has a dulcet tone, an effortless technique, and a winning way with phrasing that serves him well in Beethoven's long, legato melodies. With the smooth-toned Glorieux and the rhythmically alert Ilisavsky, Weverbergh turns in a pair of performances that match all but the very finest on earlier recordings. In Ries' trio, gruffer-toned cellist Jadranka Gasparovic replaces Glorieux, but the results are no less impressive. In Ries' sonatas, Gasparovic sits out, leaving Weverbergh and Ilisavsky to create polished performances persuasive enough to convince all but the most dubious listeners of the composer's merits.
Produced by Weverbergh, the digital sound here is close and clear, but with plenty of air around the notes.
|Trio for piano, clarinet (or violin) & cello in E flat major (arr. of septet, Op. 20), Op. 38|
|Adagio - allegro con brio||Vlad Weverbergh||7:33|
|Adagio cantabile||Vlad Weverbergh||7:48|
|Tempo di menuetto||Vlad Weverbergh||3:02|
|Andante con variazioni||Vlad Weverbergh||6:53|
|Andante con moto alla marcia - presto||Vlad Weverbergh||7:13|
|Trio for clarinet (or violin), cello & piano No. 4 in B flat major ("Gassenhauer"), Op. 11|
|Allegro con brio||Vlad Weverbergh||6:44|