Triple Concerto; Piano Concerto No. 3
Christian Tetzlaff (violin), Tanja Tetzlaff (cello); Royal Northern Sinfonia/Lars Vogt (piano)
Ondine ODE 1297-2
This disc belongs to the mercurial Lars Vogt, both soloist and director in Beethoven’s festive Triple Concerto and Third Piano Concerto. The recordings are based on live performances and have a slightly rough and ready feel, with a less than ideal piano sound.
The Triple is a curiously unsatisfactory work – so far from the grandly-wrought ambition of Beethoven’s great piano trios, or, indeed, his contemporaneous symphonies. It’s a ‘concertante’ rather than a concerto. Vogt and the Tetzlaff siblings approach the Allegro with warmth and a bristling energy. The cellist is under most pressure in this work, given a leading role but often in a hard-to-project register. Tanja Tetzlaff is vivacious, though sometimes lacking in radiance, particularly in the Largo. Vogt provides a pearlescent backcloth for the tender duetting by her and Christian, though, sadly, she isn’t often given a chance to sing. There’s a sense of enforced jollity about the Rondo alla polacca: its gallumphing bursts of scalic rhetoric would be comic if they weren’t so heavy-handed. The trio do their best to inject some jesting rubato, the orchestra catching the party spirit but even Vogt can’t quite rescue it from banality.
Vibrancy comes at the cost of clarity in the C minor concerto, with a few rather ragged transitions. I missed the sense of space and light in, say, Murray Perahia’s 2007 recording, or the subtleties in Leif Ove Andsnes with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (both on Sony). The crucial opening to the Largo just misses utter serenity here, but a devilish Rondo is pure delight.