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Notwithstanding the fact that they are mature late works, the last five Mozart piano trios remain relatively neglected. Of the three recorded here. KV502 dates from 1786, while the other two were written in 1788 and are contemporaries of the great final symphonic trilogy. Both KV502 in B flat and KV542 in E major are undoubted masterpieces, suffused with that juxtaposition of dazzling contrapuntal skill and almost childish innocence that are such a hallmark of Mozart’s late style. KV564 in G is a more extrovert work, with a whirlwind finale evoking the spirit of outdoor dance.

It is that trio that I feel is best suited to the strongly delineated playing of the young London-based Rautio Piano Trio. Elsewhere although the playing is decently balanced, fluent (the pianist, using a Derek Adlam instrument based on a 1795 Anton Walter, especially so) and confident, I sense a certain lack of finesse. This is readily illustrated by comparing the 1983/4 Hyperion set by the London Fortepiano Trio, where the playing is immediately more nuanced, more crafted and indeed technically superior. But there is much to enjoy in the Rautio performances such as the tranquillity they find in the final bars of KV502’s central Larghetto. I like, too, the addition of ornamentation, something Mozart would have undoubtedly expected.

Brian Robins Read the full review on Agora Classica


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Early Music Today, 2016 - ©Rhinegold Publishing