While it is pleasurable to hear three of the world's best-known virtuosos playing together with such extraordinary sympathy and enthusiasm, the actual performances by violinist Itzhak Perlman, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and pianist Emanuel Ax on this disc of Mendelssohn's two piano trios are merely so-so. Each alone sounds marvelous Perlman with his sweet intonation, Ma with his lyrical phrasing, and Ax with his sonorous tone but together they are not quite the sum of their parts.
Robust? Vigorous? Muscular? None of those adjectives even come close to describing these performances by the French Trio Wanderer of Brahms' three piano trios and G minor Piano Quartet. The opening theme of the Allegro con brio in the B flat Trio has rarely sounded so lushly sonorous. The passage work of the Scherzo in the C major Trio has not often been so incredibly relentless. The unisons at the start of the C minor Trio have never been so immensely powerful.