The Roque d'Anthéron series on
DVD gets better and better. This all-Tchaikovsky
programme has the mighty A minor Trio
as its centre-piece but, as we shall
see, there is point to the smaller pieces,
Director Andy Sommer
handles the affair tastefully. Some
issues in this series have imposed camera-work
that can induce sea-sickness, but not
a trace of that here. An approach characterised
by pertinent close-ups and sensitive
work all round is the order of the day.
The Barcarolle (solo
piano) is a melancholy little piece.
Berezovsky is shown as casual in his
approach but here he plays with real
warmth, bringing across the tender,
wistful nature of the music. It is good
to see 'The Seasons' (in reality of
course 'The Months') getting exposure.
The small piece for cello and piano,
Nocturne, Op. 19 No. 4, reveals how
expressive Kniazev can be - and how
strange it is to see a pianist of Berezovsky's
talents playing such a simple chordal
accompaniment! The close-up of the cellist's
left hand makes for interesting viewing.
All of which puts the
listener in the right frame of mind
for the broader Tchaikovskian strokes
of the Trio. All bodes well, with Berezovsky's
rippling accompaniment to Kniazev. Makhtin's
violin can seem a trifle edgy at first;
not uncomfortably so, but enough to
seem slightly out of place. Amazing
to watch Berezovsky, who moves but little
yet produces a huge sound when required,
seemingly with little or no effort.
The simplicity of line
of the second movement harks back to
that The Seasons excerpt that
began the recital. There is much to
enjoy in this movement, mainly from
Berezovsky, whose light touch at speed
is simply beautiful - as is his music-box
imitation. All three players gel fully
here. Makhtin's tone is noticeably sweeter
and his concentration is at its height.
Finally, the last movement (Variazione
finale e coda) is marked by vigorous
energy from all concerned. The sheer
volume of sound the combined players
make is remarkable; the overall quality
of performance breathtakingly high.
So high, in fact, that when Berezovsky
comes in fractionally early near
the end, it is all the more obvious.
The final work, the
is, it has to be said, not hugely melancholic.
It is more relaxing after the trials
and travails of the huge Trio. A nice
encore to send people home happy, but
that is essentially what it is here.
Another excellent DVD
from this source. These products are
almost as much a joy to watch as they
are to listen to, thanks to the near-miraculous