COMPOSERS: Beethoven,Bruch,Druckman,Larsen,Tchaikovsky & Bolcom
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: The Making of a Medium, Vol. 10
WORKS: Trios for violin, clarinet & piano
PERFORMER: Verdehr Trio
CATALOGUE NO: CD 940
The Verdehr Trio’s ongoing Crystal project ‘The Making of a Medium’ reaches Vol. 10 with another attempt to make stark opposites masquerade as happy musical bedfellows. That’s certainly a major deterrent, even though it takes nothing from the fact that these are agile, intelligent performances, characterised by an engagingly high level of spontaneity which, unlike the cumbersome juxtaposition of repertoire here, seems anything but contrived.
I’d happily trade Libby Larsen’s aptly named Slang and Jacob Druckman’s Glint (both outstay their welcome) for the missing movements of Bruch’s Trio, though William Bolcom’s Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano is much the best of the Verdehr commissions heard here.
Their transcription of Beethoven’s Op. 6 Trio in D is pleasant enough, and well played, not that it gains much in this guise. And the same could be said of the Verdehr Trio’s arrangement of the Meditation, the first of Tchaikovsky’s Op. 42 triptych originally for violin and piano, entitled Souvenir d’un lieu cher. Finally, this disc has been skilfully recorded, and the performances are creditable. But their novelty soon cloys, and the prospect of sitting through the remaining nine volumes of this series to date isn’t one I’d relish. Michael Jameson