La Nuit transfigurée

La Nuit transfigurée

Whether a string quartet version of a symphony or an orchestration of a piano work, the best arrangements always shed fresh light on their originals. On this fascinating and beautifully performed album, French piano group Trio Karénine take on three late-19th-century masterpieces and create unexpected new colors and drama. Schumann’s intimate 6 Studies for pedal piano, usually played today on pipe organ, feel expansive and passionate in chamber form. Verklärte Nacht, Schoenberg’s post-Romantic portrait of love that was originally written for a string sextet, is best known in its orchestral version. But pared down here, it feels entirely new—piano taking on the orchestral textures while violin and cello indulge in a beautiful dialogue of Schoenberg’s exquisite themes. Elsewhere, “Tristia”—Liszt’s own trio arrangement of his piano solo “Vallée d’Obermann”—makes a welcome return from obscurity.

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