Brahms – The three trios


All three piano trios of Brahms, performed by an all star cast: Arthur Rubinstein on piano, Henryk Szeryng on violin and Pierre Fournier on the cello. The recording of the first trio got a Grammy in 1975. Because I’m also playing the cello, I’m going to write about Pierre Fournier.

Fournier was born in 1906 in Paris as the son of a general. He started with the piano, but was the victim of polio and had trouble moving his feet as a consequence. So the cello became the instrument of choice. He graduated in 1923 and toured Europe immediately after. In 1925 he already recorded all of the chamber music of Brahms and Schubert for the BBC. None of these recordings remain, alas.

During the war he collaborated with the Germans when he was still working for a German radio station in France. That little detail was discovered in 1949, and he was banned from playing in France for six months as a result. In 1963 he was made a member of the French Légion d’Honneur, apparently forgiven.

Fournier was known as the aristocrat among cellists, because of his elegance in playing and his majestic sound.

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