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Different approaches

Comparing two piano trios on the same day,


Two piano trios on the same day -- this must be some kind of record! But it certainly provided opportunity for comparing different approaches to some of the finest music written for piano, violin and cello between 1788 and 1883, almost 100 years apart and ranging from the well-known to the strangely neglected. The date: 6 March 2005.

Sunday morning coffee concerts -- or sweet and dry sherry if you're brave at heart -- at the Wigmore Hall, London, UK, are generally auspicious occasions. The Guarnieri Trio Prague -- Ivan Klánský, piano, Cenek Pavlík, violin, Marek Jerie, cello -- are regular visitors, now a little older and wiser perhaps than the time before, but superb as always. Beethoven's Trio in E flat, Op 70 No 2, in contrast to its predecessor Op 70 No 1, The Ghost, is more affluent, purposely daring in its virtuoso demands, mainly over-the-top to satisfy the composer's excessive demands from his performing musicians, but possessing one of the most tender of slow movements -- enough to make the heart melt. The preparation for those typical elements of surprise, elsewhere has certain Haydnesque floridity, but the scale of writing is noticibly larger and at times gargantuan when solo violin and cello are required to leap up to far higher regions during the preparation for the coda, when in all likelihood their instruments are slightly out of tune! Never mind. Brahms' Trio in B, Op 8, was the subject of the composer's re-write, following the composition and publication of his later trios in C major and C minor. Despite its greater length, the Allegro con brio opening movement can result in the work hanging together more convincingly in the ensuing Scherzo and Trio, Adagio and Allegro finale. The players' suave phrasing and creamy textures did the composer proud.

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Copyright © 21 May 2005 Bill Newman, Edgware UK


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