- String Quartet in E flat major (H. 277)
- Piano Trio in D minor, Op. 11 (H. 465)
- Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 17
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Performances of music by Clara Schumann and Fanny Mendelssohn have grown much more common, but they are still often paired with the male figures in their lives, and it is often their music in small genres, the lied and the small piano piece, that is emphasized. This release from the Nash Ensemble is corrective in this regard, and it shows the two composers at their most ambitious. In smaller pieces, the two composers were influenced, respectively, by Robert Schumann and Felix Mendelssohn, and entered into interesting dialogues with them. However, the influences for the present works come from elsewhere. Hear the delightful Scherzo from the gentle "Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 17," of Clara Schumann, with its pizzicato cello; it suggests a charming operatic interlude by Weber. With the Fanny Mendelssohn "Piano Trio in D minor, Op. 11," and especially her "String Quartet in E flat major," the influence is Beethoven, both in general mood and in specific details like the fugal passage in the Allegretto second movement of the quartet, akin to the finale fugue in the Beethoven "String Quartet in C minor, Op. 59, No. 3." Felix Mendelssohn disliked this work and considered it formally sloppy; one can see where he was coming from and yet think that Fanny got closer than Felix did, on all but a handful of occasions, to what Beethoven was all about. The Nash Ensemble, beyond their usual clean work, catches the particular drive of these works in their weighty performances. Although the church sound is not ideal, this sounds very much like a reference recording of these works.