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American Record Guide

An apt coupling, beautifully executed and fortunately not recorded with the instruments shoved forcefully into our ear canals. The Eaken Trio has garnered praise from several quarters; and violist Esmilla, now returned to his homeland in the Philippines, blends most effectively with the mellow tones of the ensemble.
No doubt, part of the pleasure here is the acoustic of the home of Edwin Dunlap in Mount Gretna, PA, where this was recorded. With so many recent chamber recordings causing aural fatigue, this is free of the stress and strain of trying too hard for hi-fi perfection.
The performances are perfectly lovely. The group is a little more laid-back than usual. They sparkle, but in a natural way, preferring to let the music speaker them without pushing things too much. Gloria Whitney plays a 1929 Steinway D, at first sounding a little like a fortepiano.
I can see where some might prefer a slicker presentation, perhaps with stronger accents and a more forward acoustic. But this is most refreshing, always intensely musical.
The uncredited notes are decent. This should be investigated by anyone who values the art of chamber playing and the music of Brahms and Schumann.

Becker - American Record Guide

San Francisco Sentinel

This recently released CD by the Eaken Piano Trio and guest violist Joseph Esmilla glows with passion and musical excellence. The recording features Robert Schumann’s Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 47 and Johannes Brahms Quartet in G minor, Op 25. The Grammy nominated artists of the Eaken Trio – violinist John Eaken, cellist Andrew Rammon, and pianist Gloria Whitney – reach new and brilliant heights in this fine recording engineered by Timothy Breon. The showy and challenging Andante Cantabile (track 3) of the Schumann Quartet is exquisitely rendered. The Trio – now a fine quartet with Esmilla – captures the romance and drama of Brahms’ Andante con moto (track 6) which then leads to the fiery and all-out climax of the fourth movement, the Rondo alla Zingarese. The musicianship, vitality and charm sustained within these two beloved sets released by Con Brio Recordings make EAKEN TRIO + 1 a must-have for lovers of chamber music.

Grammy-nominated recording artists, Eaken Piano Trio will celebrate their 25th year of successful seasons of critically acclaimed concert appearances during the 2011-2012 concert season. They are known performers across the United States, Europe, and Canada. A return tour to Europe is scheduled for 2011, when they will be concertizing in Italy, Germany and France. Unanimously noted for their enthusiastic performances and innovative audience-building residencies, the ensemble has numerous commercial recordings in addition to their newest CD, EAKEN TRIO + 1 on Con Brio Recordings. The group is heard regularly on classical music radio including National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” and “Performance Today”. They have been the recipient of many commissions including trios written for them by Lalo Shifrin of Mission Impossible fame, Gerald Shipiro, Timothy Greatbatch and others. In 2010, they will be premiering works by composers Mike Garson and Allen Menton.

By Seán Martinfield - Sentinel Editor and Publisher