Cherubini and Cambini String Trios

This collection of world premiere recordings makes for an appealing program. Luigi Cherubini and Giuseppe Cambini, though contemporaries, occupied different roles in the Parisian music scene of the early 1800s. These works show both the connections and the distinctions between the opera composer (Cherubini) and the master of chamber music (Cambini).

Cherubini spent most of his professional life in Paris. Most noted for his operas, he wrote very little chamber music — and never any string trios. The works on this album are arrangements of his Solfeggioexercises. Cherubini wrote these three-part exercises for training singers, they translate quite nicely to the string trio medium. And they work quite well as musical compositions to be enjoyed (rather than just studied).

Cambini was a prominent violinist and a prolific composer (100+ string quartets, 82 symphony concertante, 9 symphonies, etc.). He’s sometimes credited with the development of the string quartet in France. And yet he’s always been who’s always been seriously underrepresented in recordings.

The three Cambini trios on this album all come from a set of six published in 1770. The trios are in the gallant style, with the first violin doing most of the heavy lifting. These works are elegantly crafted, and one can hear why Mozart considered Cambini his rival in Paris.

The Trio Hegel has a clean, tight, ensemble sound. Their performances of these pieces have the right amount of expression and emotion with tasteful restraint — perfectly in line with the aesthetic of the gallant style.

Luigi Cherubini: Three Trios
Giuseppe Cambini: Three String Trios, Op. 2, Nos. 1-3
Trio Hegel
Tactus TC740001

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