Chausson/ Ysaÿe – Music for Violin, Cello and Piano

Ernest Chausson (1855-1899)

Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in G minor Op.3
1. Pas trop lent – Animé
2. Vite
3. Assez lent
4. Animé

Eugène Ysaÿe (1858-1931)

5. Poème Élégiaque for Violin and Piano Op.12

Eugène Ysaÿe (1858-1931)

6. Meditation-Poème for Cello and Piano Op.16


Fanfare Magazine, Jerry Dubins

Five stars: Music and performances of the highest order

“(…) This is playing for which no superlatives exist to describe it. If it doesn’t elevate Chausson to the level of one of the very greatest of French Romantic composers and his Piano Trio to one of the very greatest works of its type from any period and of any national origin, I don’t know of any power on Earth that can exceed what these three indescribably magnificent artist-musicians have done here to accomplish that. This is playing so beautiful, so sensitive, so in touch with this music that no words can adequately explain it or do it proper justice. I can only say, listen and behold a miracle. (…).
Bruno Monteiro acquits himself with gorgeous tone and technical flair in the violin piece, and Miguel Rocha invests the cello piece with a good deal of color and character, maintaining his poise through the score’s most difficult passages.
Pianist João Paulo Santos, who gets to play in all three works on the disc, displays impressive finger work throughout and is a most responsive and sensitive chamber music partner in both the Chausson Trio and both Ysaÿe numbers.
Sometimes mysterious, at other times magical, but always miraculous, this performance of the Chausson will transport you to places you’ve never been and from which you won’t want ever to return. It deserves the most urgent recommendation.”


The Rehearsal Studio, Stephen Smoliar

“(…) As the Etcetera Web page observes, “this Trio is the first of four great chamber works left to us by Chausson.” He began work in the summer of 1881, after having learned that the composition he had submitted for the Prix de Rome had failed to win any level of the prizes being awarded. To be fair, a visit to will reveal that there is no shortage of different recordings of this trio. Nevertheless, as far as I can tell, this recording was my own “first contact” with Opus 3.
The Trio is followed by two duo compositions by Eugène Ysaÿe. The Opus 12 “Poème élégiaque” was composed for violin and piano. It is followed by the Opus 16 “Méditation,” originally scored for cello and orchestra and performed on this album by cello and piano. Both of these pieces are longer than ten minutes in duration, making them at bit too lengthy for encore selections. However, for those of us that know Ysaÿe primarily (if not entirely) for his Opus 27 set of six solo violin sonatas, these tracks provide two highly engaging journeys of discovery. They distinguish this album from any of the earlier recordings of the Chausson trio and are well worth the value of an encounter with Ysaÿe from a different point of view.”


Opus Klassiek, Aart van der Wal

“(…) What these performances demonstrate is the great technical precision of the ensemble, combined with an impressive vision of the very different characteristics of these three works. It thus awakens the unmistakable suggestion of an idiomatic sound that inspires and - how could it be otherwise - invites repeated listening. The tempos are well chosen, the execution is alternately energetic and sensual and the contrasts are not exaggerated. They invite. Also the melancholy atmosphere in the Méditation-Poème is hit. The collaboration between these three Portuguese musicians is, in a word, exemplary.
The recording made by José Fortes is also very successful: the balance is excellent (always difficult in a trio with piano), in a perfectly dosed mixture of clarity and sound. Congratulations also on the fact that both the piano tuner and the page turner are clearly mentioned. I don't see that often!”


Pizzicato Magazine, Remy Franck


“Ernest Chausson had failed at the Prix de Rome in May 1881. In July he went to Switzerland with his family, where his piano trio was composed. It has been said that the composition was a kind of act of defiance in response to his defeat at the Prix de Rome.
This assumption is fully confirmed in the Portuguese trio’s passionate, highly emotional interpretation. The first movement sounds truly defiant and agitated. The Scherzo is very well differentiated by the three musicians, and the movement sounds as if it questions some of what was said in the first. Lyrism and vitality are perfectly balanced here.
Chausson himself described the Andante as ‘dreamy’. Chausson’s teacher César Franck had found the movement too extended, but Chausson was confident enough of it not to change much. Just how right that was is shown in this interpretation, which alternates between melancholy, somberness, quiet confidence and powerful effervescence. In the final movement, too, Monteiro, Rocha and Santos play with great intensity and contrast, sometimes vital, sometimes sensual, showing us a more combative Chausson.
Ysaÿe’s Poème élégiaque for violin and piano is dedicated to Gabriel Fauré. The performance of the rhapsodic-romantic work is technically brilliant, and the Duo Monteiro-Santos balances passion and tenderness very sensitively. In the quiet parts their interpretation is touchingly interiorized and poetic.
The Méditation-Poème is also performed with great rhetoric and tension. Rocha’s cello tone is utterly seductive, his phrasing a pure joy.
And so this is a CD played by dedicated musicians with technical excellence and, above all, depth and expression, with a wide range of sonorous timbres, an unerring sense of nuance, and an unflagging inventiveness.
Sound engineer José Fortes cared for a very natural and optimally balanced sound.”


Planet Hugill, Robert Hugill

Finely poetic: Ernest Chausson's early Piano Trio alongside works by his contemporary, Eugene Ysaÿe


“(…) Chausson's Trio uses a cyclical theme in the manner of his friend and teacher, Franck. This is introduced over a rocking piano figure at the outset of the first movement. This movement is substantial (over ten minutes) yet begins in a remarkably elegiac manner before becoming faster and more turbulent. As with much later 19th century writing for piano trio, the work requires sensitive handling in the piano and this Santos does very well. Throughout there is the sense of give and take between the three and the piano never feels over done. It helps that both Monteiro and Rocha are well able to bring out their own passionate moments in a fine manner, yet each can be discreet too. This is a performance that moves between quiet sympathy and intense passion. The slow movement has a lovely transparency to the opening, with an introduction that feels quite thoughtful before we launch into the perky main section. Here the wry humour and poetic elements take us a little distance from Franck. For the opening of the slow movement, the piano has a long solo, reiterating the cyclical theme and as the other instruments join in there is a quietly intense poeticism that reminds you of Faure, even though the structure is more Franck. An example of the synthesis that Chausson brought to his music. With the finale, we bring the cyclical structure to a close with a large-scale movement that has a perky energy to its rhythmic impetus.
Throughout the performance, I enjoyed the sympathetic give and take between the players and the sense of poetry that they bring to the music. Though a large-scale romantic work, the fevered moments are kept under control and we can enjoy the poetry that we find in Chausson's smaller works.
Ysaÿe's Poeme Elegiaque is another large-scale piece, a single movement lasting nearly 15 minutes. Ysaÿe was inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and musically by Wagner, but also by Chausson, Franck and Faure. The work does very much live in a similar world to the Chausson. The violin's G string is tuned down to F, giving a slightly huskier, darker sound to the piece. We have a flowing, poetic violin over a throbbing piano. This is very much free rhapsody, and whilst Santos' piano is wonderfully sensitive, the focus is on Monteiro's violin. There are moments when the piece seems to almost break its bounds, as if Ysaÿe really wanted to write a work for violin and orchestra.
Ysaÿe's sense of free rhapsody also comes across in his Mediation-Poeme, and here he emphasises things by showing the changes of metre via a single number written above the score rather than conventional time signatures. It begins in haunting and darkly poetic style, a real poetic meditation. And even when things hot up, Rocha and Santos keep that sense of free rhapsody alongside poetic meditation.
(…) I enjoyed this disc immensely, the three instrumentalists all conquer the challenges of the instrumental writing without even making a meal of it. Throughout, the three remain sensitive to the poetry of the pieces, and the trio in particular has a lovely intimate give and take between the three players.”


Fanfare Magazine, Colin Clarke

Five stars: A disc full of delights and surprises, of subtle shades, of revelations. A superb disc on all levels

"An ideal coupling here, two composers capable of the heights of beauty. I very much enjoyed these players’ disc of Lekeu in Fanfare 43:1, back in 2019, and this is an apt sequel, both in repertoire and in performance standard.
Dating from 1881/2, Chausson’s Piano Trio in G-Minor, op. 5 blazes with a white-hot intensity. It is a joy to listen to, not least because of Bruno Monteiro’s ability to play so in tune. Cellist Miguel Rocha is an eloquent partner, while Joāo Paulo Santos's strength is to convey that intensity without ever resorting to virtuosity (the piano part sounds fiendishly difficult). The booklet annotator (Monteiro himself) is right to mention the shadow of Franck over this music, and not just in terms of the cyclic nature of the piece; and yet Chausson has his own, magical voice. We hear that voice in songful form in the contrasting moments of the second movement Scherzo. Fascinating to hear this performance, so disciplined and yet so pitch perfect to Chausson’s vocabulary. João Paulo Santos gets his chance to shine in the long cello lines of this movement, and shine he does, delivering effortless legato. As a song without words for cello and violin, this movement has few peers. It is remarkable to place this work: Chausson was only 26 years old at the time, having attended classes by both Franck and Massenet, and yet Chausson paints on such a vast canvas, and Monteiro, Rocha, and Santos relish every minute. There is no sense of hurry at all in the “Assez lent” slow movement. In contrast, the finale is marked “Animé" and it certainly trips along with a remarkably Gallic tinge. The slightly dry acoustic of the recording enables the dotted rhythms to really spring, while Santos’ way with the grander statements is perfectly scaled. This is true chamber music, through and through.
While the coupling on the excellent Trio Wanderer performance also works well (the Ravel Piano Trio, Fanfare 23;4), the move to Belgium and Eugène Ysaÿe is spectacularly thought-through, and well timed (in that a significant number of Ysaÿe releases seems to have come my way in various formats of late, not least Sherban Lupu’s amazing Ysaÿe "adventure" with the G-Minor Concerto plus some short pieces—Fanfare 45:3—plus some notable live concerts in London). If there is a flowering of interest in Ysaÿe’s music, it is most definitely to be welcomed. The Poème Élégiaque is gloriously melodious, and what a pleasure it is to hear Monteiro's throaty lower register (the G-String is tuned down to F in this piece, and the whole lower register sounds incredibly intense and poignant so that when Ysaÿe moves to middle or high register it literally feels like it is another instrument responding). The piece flows effortlessly, and while it is violin dominates (and Monteiro is every bit as accurate and expressive as he is in Chausson‘s Trio), one should not miss the subtleties Santos brings to the piano part. As the piece progresses, we move into the fiendishly difficult territory one naturally associates with Ysaÿe, and Monteiro is absolutely the equal of any challenge, be it registral or in terms of stopping. For a piece with such a title, this work is remarkably wide-ranging emotionally, and Monteiro and Santos embrace the composer’s world with supreme assurance. On Hyperion, Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien offer an excellent alternative (coupling it with the Franck and Vierne Violin Sonatas and Lili Boulanger’s Nocturne), and there is no doubting the supreme Hyperion recording quality to boot; but Monteiro has a particular intensity that is compelling. It was this very piece that inspired Chausson to write his own, now much more famous, Poème for violin and orchestra, op. 25.
The Méditation-Poème that follows tightens the screw somewhat, and Rocha is magnificent, playing with the utmost dignity and sophistication, while Santos relishes his opportunities in the limelight here. The way Ysaÿe returns us to a place of tranquillity is so skilful, and with Monteiro and Rocha in charge, the listener finds a place of deep, slightly perfumed, rumination. Sanos plays with just the right vibrato, expressive without over-egging the pudding; the delicate ascending scales near the close are superbly managed, too.
A disc full of delights and surprises, of subtle shades, of revelations. Definitely one for the Wants List shortlist. A superb disc on all levels."


Classical Candor, John J. Puccio

“Some of you may know the work of violinist Bruno Monteiro from his record albums, others from his many personal appearances, and yet a few more from my several reviews of his previous CD’s. For those who aren’t quite familiar with him yet, let me remind you. The weekly Expresso describes him as “one of today's most renowned Portuguese musicians.” He is internationally recognized as an eminent violinist.” Fanfare says he has a “burnished golden tone” and Strad comments on his having “a generous vibrato” producing radiant colors. Music Web International refers to his interpretations as producing a “vitality and an imagination that are looking unequivocally to the future” and that reach an “almost ideal balance between the expressive and the intellectual.” Gramophone praises his “unfailing assurance and eloquence,” and Strings Magazine notes that he is “a young chamber musician of extraordinary sensitivity." So, yes, he is very, very good.

Joining Mr. Monteiro on the present album is pianist Joao Paulo Santos and cellist Miguel Rocha. Together, they make some very, very good music.

The program begins with the Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in G minor, Op. 3 by French composer Ernest Chausson (1855-1899). He wrote the piece early in his short career, while still in his mid twenties and just after studying music with Jules Massenet and Cesar Franck. Chausson did not produce an abundance of music during his brief lifetime--thirty-nine published works in all--but they were all imaginative, original, and enchanting. While he is probably best known for the Symphony in B-flat, the symphonic poem Viviane, and the Poème for violin and orchestra, his Trio is certainly another piece to be reckoned with. Indeed, it is considered by many listeners as one of Chausson’s best small-scale chamber works.

The Trio opens with a lyrical, gently rhythmic introduction before turning to a more-animated theme. The three players here maintain a strong chemistry, the violin taking the lead, with the accompanying piano and cello alternating and intertwining in cyclic variations or patterns of spirals. The performers are uniformly vibrant in their interpretation, with Monteiro’s violin an impressively solid mainstay throughout. The second movement also starts gently, then picks up a head of lighthearted steam as the instruments pursue one another around the score. It’s all quite delightful, actually, and leads into the third, slow movement. Here, it’s the piano that takes the forestage, with the violin and cello then joining in a plaintive call. It’s a lovely, poetic interlude that recalls the music of some of Chausson’s acquaintances--Massenet, Franck, and Faure in its graceful, flowing tones. It also displays the talents of Monteiro, Santos, and Rocha and their ability to smoothly meld into one. Then the Trio ends with a sprightly animated and playfully spontaneous finale that wraps up the whole work in fine fashion, the players ready to take their well-deserved bows.

Accompanying the Trio are two short pieces by one of Chausson’s contemporaries, Belgian violinist, conductor, and composer Eugene Ysaye (1858-1931). Fans called Ysaye “the king of the violin,” and, in fact, Chausson considered him to be the best interpreter of his work he’d ever heard. On the present album we have the Poeme Elegiaque for Violin and Piano, Op. 12 (later orchestrated but here done in its original form with Monteiro and Santos) and the Meditation-Poeme for Cello and Piano, Op. 16, with Rocha and Santos. They’re both sweet, enjoyable pieces, the Meditation a little more melancholy than the Elegy, and both played with a fine, delicate poise.

Producers Bruno Monteiro and Dirk De Greef and engineer Jose Fortes recorded the music at Igreja da Cartuxa, Caxias, Portugal in September 2021. As with most small-ensemble recordings, this one is relatively close, providing good, clear detail. Yet there is a mild hall resonance to add warmth to the sessions. As we might expect in the Violin Trio, the violin is the dominant but not overpowering sound.”


Rondo Magazin (Germany)

“The composer Ernest Chausson studied with Massenet and Franck and is considered an important link between the late romantic tradition of Wagnerian character and Impressionism. Composed in 1881 in Montbovon, Switzerland, his Piano Trio reveals Chausson's lyrical qualities as a composer. It is influenced by César Franck's tonal language; Franck's Piano Quintet of 1878/79 may have been a concrete model. Even then, Chausson was independent enough to create a work that can be considered one of the most elegant and beautiful piano trios of the late 19th century. The musicians Bruno Monteiro (violin), João Paulo Santos (piano) and Miguel Rocha (cello) are among the leading chamber musicians of Portugal. They interpret Chausson's work with brilliance and passion without sentimentalizing it. The two Poèmes by Ysaÿe for violin or cello and piano are a nice bonus.”


Cinemusical, Steven Kennedy

Recording: ****/****
Performance: ****/****

“(…) All of that is made more so with the performance here. The opening movement is given its due well, but the central movements bring out the ensemble´s interation well in the scherzo. There is much lyrical writing here as well which is beautifully performed both by Monteiro and Rocha. The phrase and articulation are matched equally well. The piano impassioned harmonic interjections add the proper energy and forward momentum.
(…) Monteiro provides a quite impassioned performance (Ysaye) with rich tone, especially in the lower registal sections. The technical demands of the piece also make this attractive. The arc of the work is also well captured here.
(…) The Meditation-Poeme for cello and piano, Op.16 will be another delightful discovery for people unifamiliar with Ysaye´s music and makes for an interesting comparison to his other earlier work. Again, the harmonic palette is most striking here with its flirtations with a sort of impressionist-romantic blend of sound.
For those you enjoy exploring rare chamber music, this release will be well worth seeking out especially for the rarer Ysaye. An interesting pairing that works well to introduce listeners to two important composers from this era of French/Belgian music.”


Musicweb International, Jonathan Woolf

A hothouse Franco-Belgian programme astutely programmed and beautifully performed

“This is an astutely programmed disc that draws on connections and nuances between Chausson and his slightly younger contemporary Ysaÿe – who famously premièred the Poème - both of them devotees of Franck. It was Franck who tutored the young Chausson, and certainly there are strong imprints of the older man’s cyclical procedure and hothouse atmospherics in Chausson’s 33-minute Trio.

This is a work, long ignored for decades, that has increasingly received recordings. Bruno Monteiro (violin), Miguel Rocha (cello) and pianist João Paulo Santos form a formidable trio and marry long-term structural goals with moments of expressive piquancy to generate the necessary dramatic light and shade in a work as youthfully intense as this. It’s noticeable that they avoid excessive tempi, such as one can find in the Trio Solisti’s effort on Bridge or in elements of the Fidelio Trio’s recording on Resonus, where both the opening movement and slow movement are pressed quite hard – at least in relation to the Etcetera team’s performance. By contrast the Portuguese trio convey the fluidity of the first movement’s dramatic peaks and troughs through wistful and assured exchanges and a sculptural firmness that repays repeated listening. The slow movement’s Scherzo gains through fine control of momentum and mood, Bruno Monteiro floating his tone with admirable refinement, Miguel Rocha matching him in sophistication of tone production, anchored by the consistent excellence of pianist João Paulo Santos. The fluctuation in expressive density of the slow movement is beautifully realised, and the elasticity of the finale’s melody lines are conveyed at a fine tempo, with playing of power and ardour, not least from the hard-working pianist.

The two selected works by Ysaÿe act as fine commentaries in themselves on the bigger and more emotively outgoing Chausson Trio. Both, in fact, were later to be orchestrated for string soloist and orchestra in which form they have often been encountered on disc. In the Poème Élégiaque, the violinist’s G string is tuned to F, which vests it with a dusky, melancholic quality. Not only does it emphasise the mournful qualities of the music but it also sounds positively viola-like in places. It was his first tone poem and evokes the Lekeu-like, Wagnerian plangency of the fin-de-siecle Belgian school to which Monteiro responds with fulsome instrumental address. Both he and Santos prove adroit in the expressive potential of the music, lightening the mood when required or darkening and deepening the twilit atmosphere in a notably balanced reading. A competing version, though very differently coupled – Vierne, Franck and Lili Boulanger - is on Hyperion, finely played by Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien (review). For the orchestrated version, you have the Fuga Libera box (FUG758), where it’s played by Tedi Papavrami (review) or the CPO 777 051-2 (review), to cite just two examples.

Méditation-Poème can also be found in that Fuga Libera box, where it’s played by Gary Hoffman. It shows Ysaÿe’s command of the rhapsodic but also his employment of the chromatic, ripely coloured, that enriches the music rather than stifling or throttling it. Too astute and shrewd an executant-composer for that, Ysaÿe gives the cellist some eloquent lines to spin, to which Miguel Rocha responds with ardour, splendidly matched by João Paulo Santos.

This programme gives numerous opportunities for individual and collective strengths and comes with notes from the violinist and an excellent recording supervised by José Fortes. The hothouse is in good hands in this release.”


Cultuurpakt, Veerle Deknopper


“Bruno Monteiro knows how to handle things. Whenever the Portuguese violinist releases a new album, the dynamics in his performance speak volumes. Energetic, proud and sincere, something you want to wake up to and that positively influences your mood during the day. This time he managed to surprise us with music by Ernest Chausson and Eugène Ysaÿe. A permanent companion of music is the pianist João Paulo Santos and this time also the cellist Miguel Rocha. A Belgian label – Et'cetera – and also a Belgian composer. Beautiful!

Ernst Chausson (1855-1899) grew up in a loving Parisian family, where music did not play the main role. Still, a teacher gave him a love for the Fine Arts and he soon couldn't choose between music or literature. Ultimately, it was music that gained when he began studying piano at fifteen, despite being also very talented as a painter. He may have started out in law school, but he ended up at the Paris Conservatoire. He composed works for piano and chamber music, orchestral works and opera. The connection with the virtuoso Belgian violinist Ysaÿe? Ysaÿe premiered her Poème for violin and orchestra in 1896.

Chausson was known as a shy personality who had a great love for beauty and nature. He liked to be surrounded by artists from all kinds of fields, such as Monet and Duparc.
His trio for piano, violin and cello in G minor opus 3 opens this CD and can surely be considered one of the most beautiful pieces of the late 19th century period, despite the work being received coldly by the Société Nationale de Musique. It was not published posthumously until 1919.

The nice thing is that you can hear all these dynamics, as if you were diving into a painting. Tone colors are heard and even a little pointillism is allowed on a dreamy background. As if feeling the energy of that cultural period.

Ysaÿe started her career at a very young age. He made his public debut at the age of seven and studied at the Brussels Conservatory with Wieniawski and later in Paris with Henri Vieuxtemps. He was known for his beautiful vibrato, romantic tics and warm sounds. In addition to his most famous works, he also wrote two musical poems that you can hear here. The rather somber Poème Élégiaque was dedicated to Gabriel Fauré. This is exactly what challenged Chausson to write his own Poème. The Méditaton-Poème was written in 1910 but not published until 1921. The violinist-composer always wanted to make sure that only the best would be published. The work was dedicated to the cellist Fernand Pollain and has a rhapsodic character.

This album addresses music that may not be known to the masses, but that is very much worth putting on the map and being tasted and appreciated.”


Doctorjohn Cheptubeaudio

“ (…) And, as a fan of Chausson, I marveled at the Portugese violinist Bruno Monteiro, who led a Trio that excelled in Chausson and Ysaye (EtCetera). For the same label, Monteiro has several excellent albums.”


Sonograma Magazine, Josep Bosch

“On the Belgian label Etcetera Records, founded by David Rossiter and Michel Arcizet, every detail is revealing. In Bruno Monteiro's new album, the interpreter, accompanied by two musicians of excellent musical qualities – cellist Miguel Rocha and pianist João Paulo Santos – interprets the Trio for piano, violin and cello in G minor, op. 3, by the French composer Ernest Chausson (1855-1899), the Poéme Elégiaque for violin and piano, op. 12, and the wonderful Meditation-Poème for cello and piano, op. 16, by the Belgian composer and conductor Eugène Ysaÿe.

Monteiro, with Rocha and Santos, puts the listener in front of a multiplicity of sounds, in which it is possible to recognize, for a better understanding of the historical moment, the music of two composers with a poetic sensibility and a very rigorous idiomatic pattern.

The Trio for piano, violin and cello in G minor, coldly received at the premiere, is a work in four movements (in fact, the result of the advice of César Franck) and we find the cyclical themes of the violin - Monteiro's lyricism is a dazzling journey - in addition to a deep harmonic ambiguity and rhythmic force, which sustains the four movements.

Ysaÿe's sound poetry, reflected in the Poéme Elégiaque - dedicated to Fauré - and in the Meditation Poème, is inherent to these two purely romantic chamber pieces. The author seeks darkness through scordatura; he seems to have been inspired by Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and by Chausson's music.

Rhapsodic in nature, Ysaÿe, who formed his own quartet in 1894, composed the Meditation-Poème with a singular (rather than conventional) notation to indicate changes in meter. Rocha and Santos, cello and piano, display an energy of dramatic intensity, dark and sober.

A recording of a high artistic and musical level.”


GB Opera, Riccardo Viagrande

“This CD released by the Etcetera Records label opens a small, but delicate window on French chamber music of the second half of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The program opens with the Trio for piano, violin and cello op. 3 which, composed by Ernest Chausson in 1881 and performed for the first time on 8 April 1882 at the Société Nationale de Musique in Paris, is a work in four movements with a cyclical structure in which the composer shows an excellent mastery of the techniques and of the compositional forms despite in some passages there is a lyricism, perhaps a little rhetorical, although intense. Two works by Eugène Ysaÿe complete the program: the Poème Élégiaque for violin and piano Op.12, inspired by the tragedy Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare, and the Méditation-Poème for cello and piano Op.16 which, composed in 1910, is one page rhapsodic in character.

These pieces are excellently performed by Bruno Monteiro (violin), Miguel Rocha (cello), João Paulo Santos (piano). In the Chausson Trio the three artists find a perfect harmony that allows them to give the impression of listening to a single instrument with different timbres. In particular, João Paulo Santos, on the piano, accompanies without ever overwhelming them, Bruno Monteiro and Miguel Rocha, who, both endowed with a solid technique, but also with an expressive way, perform these pieces with great attention to phrasing and dynamics. Particularly beautiful is the performance of the Poème by Monteiro, as is the performance of the Méditation-Poème by Miguel Rocha of absolute value.”


MusicWeb International, Dominy Clements

If you fancy a heart-on-sleeve, (…) performance of an ‘unsung’ piano trio then this is one to put on and just turn up the volume.”

“Ernest Chausson's Trio in G minor Op. 3 can be heard as an act of defiance by a composer who had just been rejected by the Prix de Rome. Composed in the summer of 1881, it was premiered on the 8th of April 1882 at the Société Nationale de Musique of Paris, but after a lukewarm reception it lay unpublished until 1919, something that might seem remarkable to us now given the quality of the music.

That sense of creative defiance is most apparent in the romantic sweep of the substantial first movement. The influence of Franck is apparent throughout the piece, and while this grand opening is more or less based on classical sonata form its themes have those cyclic tendencies associated with Franck. This is followed by a Vivace that serves as a scherzo movement, leading up to a gorgeous Assez lent. The balance of proportion is held in the final Animé, which answers the opening with a comparable sonata form structure and even greater thematic compactness and intensity, with daring harmonies and the building of considerable climaxes despite the quite jaunty 'journey home’ through-line in its momentum.

Eugène Ysaÿe was better known as a violinist as he was composer in his lifetime, having studied with Wieniawski in Brussels, and later in Paris with Vieuxtemps. The Poème élégiaque was dedicated to Fauré and has a breathless song-like drama that impressed Chausson enough to write his own famous Poème. The Meditation- Poème for cello and piano was written for the cellist Fernand Pollain, and is a piece to confound the air-conductors of us trying to follow the beat at home. Its uneven meter creates an effect of restlessness, the continuous lyrical effect carrying its own dramatic arc.

This is a nice recording. There aren't that many recordings of the Chausson Trio Op. 3 around but there are some alternatives. The Vienna Piano Trio on MDG is worth considering, though I certainly prefer the present recording to the Meadowmount Trio on Naxos which is nice enough but quite soft-edged by comparison.

If you fancy a heart-on-sleeve, (…) performance of an ‘unsung’ piano trio then this is one to put on and just turn up the volume.”


Jornal de Letras, Maria Augusta Gonçalves

“ (…) Beautiful interpretations, which have established themselves as top choices for this repertoire. (…) Memorable exhibition by Bruno Monteiro, perfect piano by João Paulo Santos, extraordinary cello by Miguel Rocha, until the final sequence, reaching the supreme refinement at the end of the work.

Recorded a year ago at Igreja da Cartuxa, in Caxias, with the sound engineer José Fortes, this album constitutes a treasure in the discography of Chausson and Ysaÿe, as well as of the music in France, at the turn of the 20th century, at the dawn of modernity that would follow. All because of the musicians' broad vision of each of the works and their context, and the exceptional technical mastery they demonstrate at every moment.”


Musical Opinion, James Palmer


“This is a very fine issue of superb chamber music from the Belle Epoque period, and one cannot imagine it being better played or recorded. If I begin with the sound quality, it is only because obtaining a correct, genuinely musical, record ed balance between all three instruments is not easily achieved, but the result here border on demonstration standard. (…) Bruno Monteiro and his companions have the style of this period literally at their fingertips, and the whole presentation is admirable.”


Radio Cultura of São Paulo, João Marcos Coelho

CD OF THE WEEK Trio and duos of Ysaÿe and Chausson. By three notable Portuguese musicians, on the recently released album by Etcetera label

"The vitality of violinist Bruno Monteiro and pianist João Paulo Santos is impressive. Both Portuguese, their duo has been recording for almost two decades a substantial part of the most expressive chamber music repertoire of the last century and a half. Bruno Monteiro was born in the city of Porto. He studied in New York with Patinka Kopec, Isidore Cohen (of the Beaux Arts Trio) and members of the American String Quartet at the Manhattan School of Music. He completed his training with Shmuel Ashkenazi of the Vermeer Quartet. Experienced pianist João Paulo Santos, 57 years old from Lisbon, studied with the great Aldo Ciccolini in Paris in the 1980s.

In the last ten years alone, Bruno and João Paulo have made more than a dozen recordings. A consistent discography, evidencing a particular taste for the music of the 20th century. They recorded, for example, the complete music for violin and piano by the Portuguese composer Fernando Lopes-Graça (who died in 1994 at the age of 86, after a life of resistance to the salazarista regime and an enviable quality of musical creation); a double CD containing the complete music for violin and piano by the Polish composer Karol Szymanowski (died in 1937, aged 55). And also Stravinsky, among many others.

The duo has just released the album “Ysaÿe: music for violin, cello and piano” on Etcetera label. The guest cellist is Miguel Rocha. He was born in Porto, and began his musical studies at the city's Conservatory with Isabel Delerue. In 1983 he studied in Paris, Prague, Masstricht and in Basel with Boris Pergamenchikov. He was a soloist with the Sinfonietta de Lausanne, Switzerland. In 2001 he returned to Portugal. He teaches at the Escola Superior de Castelo Branco, near Belgais, where Maria João Pires conceived and carried out her utopian musical project for a few years and had the Brazilian Caio Pagano as an assistant. He has recorded for various labels, from baroque to contemporary music, with an emphasis on Portuguese music.

On this week's CD, this trio plays the ambitious Trio in G minor, opus 3 by Ernest Chausson (1855-1899), who studied with Massenet and also with César Franck – the latter was a determining influence on his work. Chausson exercised a fierce self-criticism of his works, which are few. But they are all very expressive. Perhaps even more decisive was the influence of Wagner, whose music he got to know and enjoyed a lot between 1880 and 1889. In that decade he went to Bayreuth practically every year. And in the following decade, the last of his life, he composed the opera “King Arthur”.

The other half of the album is filled with two pieces by Eugene Ysaÿe, one of the greatest violin virtuosos of the late 19th century: the “Poème Élègiaque” for violin and piano; and the “Meditation-Poème”, for cello and piano."


Expresso, Ana Rocha


“The most recent album by the violinist Bruno Monteiro (Porto, 1977) is to be welcomed, divided into two “chapters”, the first dedicated to a piece by Ernest Chausson and the second with two works by the Belgian composer and violinist Eugene Ysaÿe. There are 66 minutes filled with three powerful pieces due to the originality of the construction, the vigor, breadth and richness of the themes, on this occasion explored by the violinist along with the pianist João Paulo Santos and the cellist Miguel Rocha. These are works by composers who are largely absent from the soundscape and who now reappear on recordings, three nuggets deserving of leaving the shelves where they accumulated dust. From a 19th-century painting signed by the Dutch artist Frits Jansen and entitled “Summer Afternoon”, an image was taken to illustrate the cover with an elegant woman with a dreamy gaze languidly reclining on a lawn, in a refreshing summer landscape that serves as a metaphor for the luminous and refined music of the score by Chausson and the duets performed in the “Poeme Élégiaque” dedicated by Ysaÿe to Fauré and in the “Meditation-Poeme”, from 1910, signed by the Belgian violinist who dedicated it to the French composer and cellist Fernand Polain. In 1899, a head injury caused by a massive fall from a bicycle brought Chausson's creative career to a sudden halt at the age of 44. The Trio in G Minor (Opus 3) that opens the program is a work of youth, presenting itself in an atmosphere of great joy with romantic élans and strokes of symbolism. At times, the sense of contrasts between the three soloists is emphatic, driven by the rhythmic vivacity and the paroxysmal tension with many nuances of the composition. The architecture and sound density of Ysaÿe's poems are served with panache.”


Classica FR, Jacques Bonnaure


“Chausson's Trio in G minor is not a work of easy access, but its assiduous frequentation brings great satisfaction: one can only be sensitive to the dramatic tension which runs through it, to its varied climates and to the solidity of its construction. There were already beautiful versions, two old ones by the Beaux Arts Trio (Philips) and by the Trio Pennetier, Pasquier and Pidoux (Harmonia Mundi), two more recent but of high level by the Trio Wanderer (HM) and by the Trio Slipper (Mirare). Here, it is a Portuguese team that assumes this ample score in which Chausson transcends the cute sins of the Franckist school to reveal a powerful personality. Dedicated to Fauré, the Poème Élégiaque by Eugene Ysaÿe (1858-1931) impressed Chausson so well that it inspired his famous Poème pour Violo net Orchester. It is a piece of serious and lyrical character, romantic, but of a more classical writing than the Trio de Chausson, already magnificently recorded by Alina Ibragimova and by Cédric Tiberghien (Hyperion). The Meditation Poème for cello and piano is of the same water, with a more advanced language. These are two great discoveries offered by concerned and competent interpreters.”


Revista Ritmo, María del Ser

“Considered one of the most outstanding violinists in his country, the Portuguese Bruno Monteiro has an extensive international career as a soloist, both with orchestra and in chamber ensembles. He presents here a new recording together with the cellist Miguel Rocha and the pianist João Paulo Santos, with whom he has already recorded for this same recording label Sonatas for violin and piano by the also Portuguese Luís de Freitas Branco, by Maurice Ravel and by the Brazilian Heitor Villa-Lobos, review already presented in these pages. This recording opens with the Trio for piano, violin and cello in G minor Op. 3 by Ernest Chausson, premiered in 1882. Its four movements revolve around the delicacy and subtlety of French music of the time, but with a dramatic overtone, in part because of the composer´s interest in opera to which he added the harmonic ambiguity typical of Cesar Franck and Gabriel Fauré. Following, in part, this Belgian connection, they complete it with the Poème Élégiaque for violin and piano Op. 12 by Eugène Ysaÿe, inspired by Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and of great novelty and originality in form, as Monteiro himself points out in the accompanying text. With a very personal language that is also found in his Meditation-Poem for cello and piano Op. 16 (page for which the composer did not have much esteem), stands out for its fantasy, almost improvised character. A listening turned into a whole itinerary due to the warmth and elegant exuberance of the colors and atmospheres created by the performers.”


Classique News, Hugo Papbst

Le Clic from Classique News

“The violinist Bruno Monteiro reveals in this new French romantic program, obvious affinities with the fin de siècle aesthetic, both Franckist and post-Wagnerian, specific to Chausson and Ysaÿe. In addition, the filiation between the two composers is captivating thanks to a lighting as fine as it is committed. The Trio de Chausson Opus 3 is a major work written in the summer of 1881 by a young 26-year-old composer who thus wished to avert his failure at the Prix de Rome; the cyclic principle is very skilfully used (tribute to his master César Franck who validated the final form of his pupil); the deep unity of the piece (sonata form of movements I and IV) and its complex flavor between melancholy and ecstasy (harmonic ambiguity) are clarified, made explicit, with a
remarkably articulated three-way vibration.

Between delicacy and aplomb, Bruno Monteiro produces and cultivates a tone that is both enchanting and determined thanks to his violin in perfect complicity with the cello of Miguel Rocha, while the pianist João Paulo Santos chisels each note with the same spirit of precision, nuance, of troubled depth (volubility of the keyboard in “Vite” which acts as a scherzo). Each sequence is ideally contrasted, pointing to the characteristic elements of the Très lent until the final Animé, both nervous and scathing (conclusion of the repeated final notes).

The same captivating risk and successful challenge as then programming two pieces by Ysaÿe, relatively less played/ less known than his 6 pieces for solo violin. In both cases, the performers explore formal freedom as well as the extreme virtuosity required to express its emotional depth. They sculpt with elegance and in a legitimate Fauréan spirit (the score is dedicated to Fauré) the feeling of plenitude chiseled in the Poème Élégiaque d'Ysaÿe, Opus 12, for violin / piano; Bruno Monteiro and João Paulo Santos seem to understand in the smallest folds and folds, the suggestive manifestations of an ingrained amorous melancholy, both intoxicating and toxic (the serious and very involved timbre of the violin). The free and superbly nuanced song of the two instruments expresses impulses, desires, resentment, bitterness, hope of an affected but combative soul.

Particularly characteristic, hoarse and supple, as if round and rough, Bruno Monteiro's violin captivates all the more because it is clearly distinguished by its supple and precise phrasing, a sound above all which oscillates between complaint and prayer, biting and caressing, double face of a moving introspection, – and determined, and yet in renunciation. The color is bronze, continuously suggestive, in introspection and intensity; so much chiseled nuance which in no way prevents a breath renewed by its freedom and its flexible gesture.

Particularly exposed, the violin of Bruno Monteiro knows how to weave a particularly supple sonic silk, thanks to the subtle and bewitching piano of João Paulo Santos; in taut lines, with stretched, infinite breaths, the violin as if suspended, weaves perspectives that expand time and space by chiselling a song at the limit of harmony, more and more saturated, with a fiery intoxication whose he articulates the incandescent blaze, without dismissing either harshness or difficulties; the purity of the program, the 1001 nuances inscribed in the bass, from lugubrious to desperate, do justice to the genius of Ysaÿe, himself a superlative violinist, in a virtuoso piece conducted in a filigree tension, right down to the treble whispered at the end, stretched in the breath and more and more appeased, towards the full mystery. Mastered technique and expressive hypersensitivity, Ysaÿe proves to be as ambivalent and introspective as Chausson. Which, moreover, after listening to this work, composed his own Poem for violin. Bringing Ysaÿe and Chausson into dialogue in this way proves to be relevant and obviously very inspiring for the performers.

The same active and mysterious sensibility, in the Meditation-poem of 1910 where the cello enchants, intoxicates, murmurs, is also exasperated like a pure dreamy wandering; the playing of the cello respects a precise, clear, tense rhetoric. The playing is brilliant, always suggestive, perfectly expressive, without excess, in nuance and with a flexibility of tempo(s), voluble. French romantic program, in its assumed risks, and its great finesse, totally convincing.”


Stringendo Magazine (Australia), Robert Ekselman

“Ernest Chausson’s unlikely music career – he had already commenced the study of law – has left us with several masterworks for chamber music during his tragically short life, of which the Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello Op.3 is considered to be one. While posterity may have granted him reputational immortality and a place amongst the greats, we may not have been so fortunate had fate taken him further along the road following his initial ambitions in law. The work is in four movements and displays throughout the influence of his Paris Conservatoire teacher César Franck. The outer two movements are in sonata form, either side of the scherzo and slow movement. Belgian violinist/composer Eugène Ysaÿe is remembered as one of the outstanding soloists of the 19th/early 20th centuries. The connection with Chausson appears through his Poème Elegaique for Violin and Piano Op.12 featured in this review, the work being the inspiration behind Chausson’s own Poème for solo violin which was premiered by the violinist in 1886. It is a work of sombre intensity; no surprises there, given that it is inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Both composers pushed the boundaries of late romanticism, and found inspiration in composers such as Wagner and Franck, the latter to whom it was dedicated. The rhapsodic Méditation-Poème for Cello and Piano Op.16 is written in changing meter. It is in equal measure sombre and introspective. Both composers inhabit an impressionist’s landscape of turbulent soaring phrase lines, supported by rapidly shifting kaleidoscopic harmonies. The Portuguese trio ensemble consisting of Bruno Monteiro (violin), João Paulo Santos (piano) and Miguel Rocha (cello) perform impressively in this challenging and dynamic program.”