The Westminster catalogue
remains to this day eternally fascinating
… and eagerly collected! Of the three
instrumentalists here, it is Badura-Skoda
who has been feted by the record companies
recently - several multi-disc sets feature.
His status as editor and scholar is
well known; his musicality here is everywhere
evident. This performance, led by Badura-Skoda,
is marked by the utmost sensitivity.
Audio issue (www.pristineaudiodirect.com)
shows that there is space still for
internet-based Classical activity -
MusicWeb readers may recall the
ill-fated activities of Ludwigvanweb,
an early venture in this field. CDs
can either be downloaded, or ordered
over the web to arrive by post.
The performance itself
is a model of what chamber music should
be: a masterly interplay of three equals.
The first movement is really quite sprightly
although there are more interior accounts.
There are true moments of magic here
and Badura-Skoda’s superb staccati provide
much joy and moments of mystery, too.
If there is a complaint, it is that
the piano can sometimes come across
as rather muffled. Janigro’s cello has
plenty of depth in the lower registers.
The outdoor feeling
of some of the first movement is heard
in full light of day in the Scherzo
but even here it is counterbalanced
by some creepy, slithery, exploratory
lines. When the more celebratory theme
explodes out of this dark excursion,
it could perhaps have been even more
outgoing. By far the finest movement
is the rapt, ‘Andante cantabile ma pero
con moto’. Exquisitely balanced, this
is fine Beethoven playing. Janigro again
distinguishes himself in his burnished
lyricism. The actual recorded sound
could have a touch more depth to it
to do the player full justice.
The finale is interesting.
It is light, but nevertheless it is
distinctly coloured by the experiences
of the foregoing three movements, especially
the Andante cantabile. It is as if they
justify the more dramatic moments.
Fascinating. Note there
is another ‘Archduke’ from this company
(PACM022, with Solomon/Holst/Pini).
As a performance, the present recording
does not displace the EMI Barenboim/Du
Pré/Zukerman from my affections
(recorded around 1970), but it remains
highly characterful, always musical
and well worth exploring. The transfer
is of the very highest quality.