The theme of this excellent production is "C minor", a key which has elicited significant works from many composers, and one which seems to have invited music of dramatic, poignant, even violent expression, The box notes for this disk (by the pianist himself) are exceptionally lucid, and find interesting connections among the four major works played here - thematic, rhythmic, and emotional. (...)
Utter fidelity to the printed score, to all the details of dynamics and phrasing, did not interfere with his own musical viewpoint, which emphasized the dramatic elements in all three works. His playing is natural, staightforward, end, at the same time, expressive and sensitive. This is a pianist whose future recordings are awaited with interest.
(Susan Kagan, Fanfare, The Magazin for Serious Record Collectors, July 1990)
Heller's music will appeal to anyone who warms to Schumann (the most direct influence), Mendelssohn, Weber, Moscheles, Volkmann, Raff, Henselt, and other such midcentury Romantics. And there's a kind of Classical probity to his piano textures, which are busy but clear (though they require and advanced technique, there's nothing unnecessarily splashy about them).
Marc Pantillon's approach to the piano is rather more rounded than Blumenthal's, and his tone is warmer (as is the recorded sound). Blumenthal compensates with clarity and a sprightliness that Pantillon's softer upholstery forgoes, perhaps deliberately. If you're intrigued by Heller and aren't sure which disc to go for, I'd say Claves just has the edge, with a richer piano tone and fuller notes.
(Martin Anderson, Fanfare, The Magazin for Serious Record Collectors, September 1999)
Like Schubert, Ignaz Lachner thought in terms of song, even when his singers were a piano, a violin, and a viola. These trios are filled with joy, innocence, thrilling displays of instrumental dexterity, and melodies that go on singing in one's head for hours after one has put the silver disc back in the jewelcase. Here is a big set of piano trios to place on the same shelf as - or at least on the shelf immediately under - the seven piano trios of Hummel. They are that good.
And how superbly these three Swiss musicians play them! I have already praised the contributions of violist Anna Barbara Dütschler. Worthy of equal commendation are the pearly and impeccable fingerwork of Marc Pantillon and the ardent lyricism of violonist Stefan Muhmenthaler. Schubert lovers must give this a hearing.
(David Johnson, Fanfare, The Magazin for Serious Record Collectors, March 1999)
The trio of Stefan Muhmenthaler, Anna Barbara Dütschler and Marc Pantillon bring just the right mix of insouciance and onward drive to these little masterpieces, ans the warm sound recording is close enough to let the textures tell without sacrificing a sense of perspective. Both discs ard generously filled. You'd be very surprised, then, if I didn't give these two discs a very warm welcome. Well, they'd have got a warm welcome right after my first listening. But as I have played them again and again, my enthusiasm has grown and grown. This is Want List quality: if over the course of 1999 I get five recordings good enough to push this one into reserve, it's going to be a glorious year. Perhaps the chief pleasure of being a record reviewer is surprises like this: not long ago, I didn't know these works existed, and in the brief period between their arrival and the writing of this review, they have brought me inestimable pleasure. They'll make you happy, too.
(Martin Anderson, Fanfare, The Magazin for Serious Record Collectors, January 1999)