WORKS: Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor. Piano Trio in A minor
PERFORMER: Vadim Repin (violin), Dmitry Yablonsky (cello), Boris Berezovsky (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 0630-17875-2
When, in 1881, Tchaikovsky ascribed his Op. 50 Piano Trio ‘To the Memory of a Great Artist’, the genre automatically became a customary rite of remembrance for successive Russian composers. Tchaikovsky had honoured the memory of Nikolai Rubinstein and, following trios by Arensky and Rachmaninov, Shostakovich’s Second (and last) Trio paid tribute to the musicologist Ivan Sollertinsky in 1944.
Both are heard on Erato’s new disc, featuring three young Russian virtuosi who excel in their self-commending and uniquely magnetic account of Tchaikovsky’s Trio. Cellist Yablonsky matches bravura technique with heart-rending conviction; pianist Berezovsky is absolute master of
the colossal piano part, while Repin’s silken violin tone is gorgeous throughout. The acid-test theme
and variations finale, in particular, is matchlessly done here. Though less compelling in Shostakovich’s Second Trio, this team easily outflanks the Bekova Sisters and the Borodin Trio in this benchmark performance of the Tchaikovsky Trio.
From Arabesque comes a piquant, mobile reading of Shostakovich’s early Op. 8 single-movement Trio (1923), and an urgently propulsive, emotionally charged traversal of Op. 67. The Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio
lays bare the leering skull behind Shostakovich’s pallid visage and,
with the three sonatas for strings
also included, Arabesque’s two-disc package is welcome indeed, but the Russian team’s enthralling Tchaikovsky shouldn’t be missed. Michael Jameson