All products and recordings are chosen independently by our editorial team. This review contains affiliate links and we may receive a commission for purchases made. Please read our affiliates FAQ page to find out more.

Brahms • Korngold: Piano Trios

Feininger Trio (Avi-music)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Brahms • Korngold
Brahms: Piano Trio No. 2; Korngold: Piano Trio, Op. 1
Feininger Trio
Avi-music AVI 8553513   59:46 mins


Even after 35 years as a Korngold fanatic, I still can’t get my head around the Piano Trio. Written when its composer was 12 years old, it’s an extraordinary piece; even when paired in this fine recording with mature Brahms, it holds its own effortlessly. By rights it should have been juvenilia, but instead it asserts itself as a major work, its four movements setting forth the full-blooded, late-Romantic idiom and generous open-heartedness that characterised Korngold’s work for the rest of his life. At that age, Mozart was writing nothing quite as good. The Feininger Trio, the violinist and cellist of which are members of the Berlin Philharmonic, give the wunderkind’s Op. 1 the same loving care and attention to tone and balance as they do the expansive canvas of the Brahms C major Trio, composed by a mature artist in his late forties.

This recording continues the Feiningers’ traversal of the complete Brahms trios, each paired with a work by a composer from a subsequent generation, and it is a welcome addition indeed. Violinist Christoph Streuli, cellist David Riniker and pianist Adrian Oetiker bring some very Berliner Philharmoniker values to their chamber music playing: beauty of tone is paramount, and there is excellent observation of detail with a refreshing lack of the mannerisms, exaggerations or shoutiness that some other ensembles have been resorting to. They don’t reinvent a wheel that functions very well as it is. Occasionally one feels the urge to move them along a little bit more fleetly, but few other caveats apply.


Jessica Duchen