Beethoven, Kaipainen

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Beethoven,Kaipainen
LABELS: Simax
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.

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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