S0034. EDWIN FISCHER TRIO (Fischer, Schneiderhan & Mainardi): Beethoven, Mozart & Schumann. 2-Music & Arts 840, Live Performances, 1952-53. Transfers by Lowell Cross. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 017685084027
“Edwin Fischer first formed his trio in 1935. Enrico Mainardi was the cellist and was to remain thus for the remainder of the Trio’s existence but the original violinist was Georg Kulenkampff. The three original members proved congenial. Fischer and Mainardi were duo partners and Mainardi and Kulenkampff often played Brahms’ Double Concerto together (they recorded it as well in a fine reading). The name of Adolf Busch has sometimes been used as a stick with which to beat Kulenkampff in respect of selfless altruism and moral scruple during the Nazi’s rise to power - but what is true in this context, concerning Mainardi, is that his career in Germany in the thirties flourished in direct proportion to the enforced emigration of leading cellists. The trio carried on after the war, by which time Kulenkampff and Fischer were living in Switzerland and on the violinist’s sudden death in 1948, Wolfgang Schneiderhan took over. The original trio made no discs and as far as is known no live recordings have survived either. The new trio however was taped on a number of occasions in concerts both by Bavarian Radio and, as here, at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. Paul Badura-Skoda made these private recordings.
My admiration for all three musicians is strong but my reservations about some of the performances are equally so. That said, the survival of these discs is a matter of great significance and this is, perhaps inevitably, more to do with Fischer’s own participation and pivotal role than the string players, fine though they are. The repertoire is standard - the Bavarian broadcasts, also published by Music and Arts were of Brahms trios – and cover two Beethoven trios, a Mozart and Schumann with the addition of a lengthy rehearsal sequence of the E flat Schubert, made in a piano showroom in Lucerne. The masterpiece is the Archduke and it receives a heavily personalised and rhythmically idiosyncratic performance….the lightness and attractive delicacy the three extract, whilst undeniable, is not quite accompanied by requisite masculinity or spine. There is string shading in abundance, gracefulness and also a degree of intensity….Finally there is the rehearsal sequence of the Schubert recorded in a Lucerne piano showroom, a valuable insight into the working methods of the three men who play straight through stopping only occasionally.
Whilst interpretatively I found some of the playing disappointing the value of this set is undoubtedly high, capturing Fischer and his Trio towards the end of its active life - he gave up concert performance in 1955. The recordings were made on home equipment by Badura-Skoda, who was then an assistant to Fischer, and apart from distance and resonance and the invariable failings of on-site non-professional equipment they are very listenable. They have been transferred by Lowell Cross.”
- Jonathan Woolf, musicweb-international