"Now comes the ‘difficult second album’ of any complete cycle, and by pairing the Ghost’s neglected twin Op 70 No 2 with the least-played of the Op 1 set, the G major second, they’ve not given themselves an easy sell.
In fact, it adds up to a thoroughly beguiling programme. Trio Con Brio deliver brisk readings, buoyant with dance rhythms and understated wit (I enjoyed violinist Soo-Jin Hong’s slide back into the recapitulation of the first movement of Op 1 No 2). The ensemble is intimate and properly chamber-sized, and Orchid’s sound captures it well. If there’s slightly too much bloom on the piano, at the expense (as is often the case with piano trios) of Soo-Kyung Hong’s cello tone, it does at least let the delicate, bell-like clarity of pianist Jens Elvekjaer’s right hand really sparkle.
That makes for a piquant contrast with the warm, slightly leisurely approach that Trio Con Brio take to the first three movements of both works. If the poco sostenuto introduction of Op 70 No 2 felt just right in its combination of stasis and latent energy, the Scherzo of Op 1 No 2 is positively languid. But in the finales of both works, all three players really ignite: explosive in Op 70 No 2; crackling with energy and precision in the Haydnesque moto perpetuo that ends Op 1 No 2. Their forthcoming Archduke is going to be well worth a listen."