Barely does a disc come along that unexpectedly brings so much pleasure as this one [..] from the opening notes, I just knew it was a total winner. The balance between the three instruments is beautifully handled […], and the gorgeous tone Jane Gordon gets especially from the upper reaches of her violin is absolutely to die for.
The ear is immediately struck by the fortepiano, a 1987 Derek Adlam copy of an Anton Walter instrument from the mid-1790s, which formerly belonged to Christopher Hogwood. It’s beautifully set up, and remarkably little action-noise is captured in the Potton Hall recording. As delightful as it is to listen to, it is evidently a joy to play, and Jan Rautio leads performances notable for their buoyancy and vivacity.
The Rautio Piano Trio’s growing reputation will only be enhanced by this, their debut recording of three Mozartian jewels. […] The use of period instruments affords each work a transparency of timbre, and judicious tempo choices ensure that the performances avoid difficulties of balance that can weigh down modern instrument alternatives, like Haydn Trio Eisenstadt (Capriccio). Trio Parnassus (MDG) largely avoid that problem but are occasionally pedestrian. No such issues affect the Beaux Arts Trio’s 1960s readings (Decca). The Rautios confidently sit alongside them. Rhythmically alert allegros and nuanced allegrettos allow the gut-strung violin of Jane Gordon and Jan Rautio’s fortepiano to draw the listener in. […] Natural, well balanced recorded sound.
‘Playing of great agility and intimacy. […] It’s an impressive achievement, a disc to return to often.’
‘That fortepiano is the key to one of the chief pleasures of this recording. The natural lightness & clarity of the sound and the effortless balance with the period strings, never overwhelming them. These delightful works don’t get out often enough.’
[…] the sheer joy and bounce of the performances win through. […] there’s a natural flexibility that’s refreshing, a gentle way with ornaments (some written, others not) and, especially as K542’s finale launches into its triplet passages, an infectious sense of toe-tapping delight. Most enjoyable, then, and the recorded sound is clear and engaging too.’
‘This is the debut release from the Rautio Piano Trio, and it’s an assured debut indeed. […] There’s plenty of cheerful Mozartian melodic lines passing around the ensemble that can’t help but bring a smile to one’s face.’
The star qualities of all three came spectacularly to the fore when…….. responding individually whenever required, yet combining forces with an assurance and almost fanatical commitment in order to express the essential beauty and passion of Brahms’ chamber masterpiece (B Maj).
The Rautio Trio did it (Ravel) full justice with poetic playing of great assurance. Jan Rautio rose to all the challenges of the exuberant piano part…. The climax in the finale was a rapturous celebration that brought the concert to a storming close.
The second (evening) was an even more astounding performance from the Rautio Piano Trio, …. a trio who were mesmerising in their readings of Haydn, Beethoven and, in particular, Tchaikovsky’s piano trio in A minor.
This ensemble’s strength is that is plays to put across the music more than to flaunt its own undoubted talents – five stars and many more indeed!
The Rautio three are an experienced group and have already assimilated the knack that marks out all good chamber music partnerships, namely the gift of making the ensemble sound natural, unforced and instinctive. Yet they also possess individual talent that makes the technical demands in a piece like the Ravel seem insignificant. Remarkable textures and harmonies were lovingly realised….. audience was enthralled from start to finish.
Beethoven’s Trio in Bb Op.11 Gassenhauer had thrilling new life and spirit breathed into it by the Trio’s playing. The pianist led the others with the glorious ease and liquid freedom of his playing. Beethoven’s themes were tossed playfully round the trio in the outer movements while the Adagio had real seductive warmth to it.
The Rautio Piano Trio gave mature and persuasive accounts of three recent British works, capturing the disquieting eloquence of Judith Weir’s Piano Trio Two, the vivid contrasts of Luke Bedford’s Chiaroscuro and the witty, discursive character of John Casken’s 2002 Piano Trio.