Piano Trio; Sonata for 2 Violins; 2 Songs Without Words; Sonatensatz II – Largo
Linus Roth, Janusz Wawrowski (violin), Danjulo Ishizaka (cello),
José Gallardo (piano)
Evil Penguin EPRC0044 62:50 mins
Violinist Linus Roth has been a particularly committed champion of Weinberg’s music for some years, having recorded all of his sonatas for solo violin and for violin and piano, as well as the Violin Concerto, for Challenge Classics. Here he augments this comprehensive survey of Weinberg’s output for the instrument with the febrile Sonata for two violins, a worthy companion piece to the much more famous work for the same combination by Prokofiev, the gently melodic almost Mendelssohnian set of Songs without Words, composed in the 1940s, and the rather bleak and previously unrecorded Sonatensatz.
But the main work is undoubtedly the Piano Trio. It was the first music by Weinberg which Roth got to know way back in 2010, and its emotional power and compelling musical argument were largely responsible for stimulating his further curiosity about the then grievously neglected composer. Twelve years later, however, the reputation of the Piano Trio has grown quite astonishingly with at least ten alternative recordings.
The present performance must surely rank amongst the finest. Roth and his regular duo partner José Gallardo, together with the exceptionally eloquent cellist Danjulo Ishizaka, have an instinctive feel for the idiom and know exactly when to ratchet up the tension, as in the blistering rhythmic energy of the ‘Toccata’ and pulsating fugal writing of the ‘Finale’, and when to provide calm reflection, as in the closing passage of the ‘Praeludium and Aria’ and the recitative passages of the ‘Poem’. A word of praise, too, for the recording which has a staggering immediacy that fully matches the urgency of Weinberg’s writing in the Trio.