WORKS: Piano Trio in C minor, Op. 1/3; Variations on ‘Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu’; Allegretto in B flat, WoO 39
PERFORMER: Grieg Trio
CATALOGUE NO: PSC 1165
The Grieg Trio’s express aim is to present the Beethoven trios in the company of modern works in the medium. It is a highly accomplished ensemble, but in the Beethoven, of course, comes up against extensive and formidable competition. Collectors have rather different priorities from those of concert-goers and tend to gravitate towards generic rather than hybrid issues. Hence they will probably turn towards the many all-Beethoven alternatives while concert-goers will take the more exploratory programme the Grieg Trio gives us in its stride – and indeed, did at the Wigmore Hall last December. The Grieg Trio certainly offers an intelligent, well-shaped and enjoyable account of the C minor Trio, though it does not observe the first-movement exposition repeat. The Beaux Arts from the early Eighties does and I have to say that, good though he is, the Grieg’s pianist, Vebjørn Anvik, does not really match Menahem Pressler of the Beaux Arts in terms of musical imagination and elegance.
The Grieg Trio has chosen to bring into this exalted company a piano trio by the Finnish composer Jouni Kaipainen. Now in his forties, he is a contemporary of Magnus Lindberg and a former pupil of Sallinen and Heininen at the Sibelius Academy. His Trio III (the others aren’t piano trios) dates from 1986-7. A five-movement piece of some 20 minutes’ duration, it shows evidence of a sensitive and sophisticated aural imagination, though I do not detect an individual voice: the most compelling movement is the keenly felt central ‘Marcia funebre’. Robert Layton