Eršd, Thomas Christian David, Einem

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COMPOSERS: Einem,Eröd,Thomas Christian David
LABELS: Crystal
WORKS: Trio, Op. 59. Trio No. 1; Trio No. 2; Trio No. 3; Verdehr Trio, Op. 97
PERFORMER: Verdehr Trio
CATALOGUE NO: CD 944
With its subtitle ‘Vienna after Berg’, one might have expected this disc to have offered music that bears some tangible stylistic relationship to the Second Viennese School. Yet ironically none of the contemporary Austrian works featured here, all of which were specially commissioned by the Verdehr Trio, manifest such an influence. Indeed Gottfried von Einem appears to have made a conscious decision to bypass this particular stream of 20th-century music, opting instead to invoke musical imagery that is often more reminiscent of the Vienna of an earlier era. Attractive as this may sound, the resulting patchwork quilt of musical ideas doesn’t seem to cohere sufficiently to sustain one’s interest. By comparison, Thomas Christian David demonstrates a more convincing Hindemithian rigour in the manipulation of thematic material, though all three of his Trios, composed over a period of 17 years, seem to cover similar emotional ground. Most satisfying of all to my mind is Iván Eröd’s Trio of 1991, its two contrasting movements demonstrating considerable imagination and resource, especially with regard to texture.

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Despite misgivings about some of the repertoire, there is little doubt that the Verdehr Trio approaches each work with total commitment, delivering performances of impressive technical brilliance. Frustratingly, the sound quality is more variable, the Einem and Eröd appearing to have been recorded in a much less ambient environment than the David. Erik Levi