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Mieczyslaw WEINBERG (Moisei VAINBERG) (1919-1996)
Piano Trio Op.24 (1945) [28:36]
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)
Piano Trio No. 2 Op.67 (1944) [26:23]
Leschetizky Trio Vienna
rec. Bösendorfer Piano Company Hall, Vienna, December 2005, March 2006
CASCAVELLE VEL 3104 [54:59]

It’s not the first time that these two trios, so resonantly reflective of each other, have been coupled. The Sitkovetsky-Geringas-Nemtsov team paired them for Hänssler Classic New (CD 98.491) adding the klezmer-tinged 1928 Weprik Three Folk Dances for good measure. And good measure will perhaps come into the equation – this Cascavelle release runs for fifty-five minutes and there was considerable space to convert a diptych into a triptych.
Nevertheless the Leschetizky wish to fix the focus firmly on the two trios. They are certainly wise to explore the elements of baroque procedure and aria lyricism that Weinberg poured into his 1945 Trio, written the year after Shostakovich’s own. Their curdling string sonorities are effective and their instinct for tempo relations is perceptive. They are good at the spare quality of the writing – the resonant and explicable gaps between the notes – and are right to insist on the arc-like imperatives of the emotive argument. Craggy lyrical moments in the Finale are brought out well  - and the piano chording here, so reminiscent of the more powerful chording that opens the Largo of Shostakovich’s Trio, is sensitively done.
In the case of Op.67 we do find that the recording has captured quite a bit of acoustic “noise” – which if you happen to be listening closely to the violin’s eerie scrapes in alt will mean you have company. As with many, if not all, modern performances the trio makes no attempt to replicate the dramatically fast tempo endorsed by the composer in his famous Prague recording with David Oistrakh and Milos Sádlo – of the available transfer options avoid the Doremi; the Symposium is noisy but in a different league. As a result there is sometimes a want of real bite and grim wit. The Largo’s piano chording is powerfully effective however – with the string players’ responses withdrawn and bleached to a degree that Oistrakh and Sádlo would never have countenanced. In the finale the pizzicatos aren’t quite acerbic enough; things are a touch underplayed.
Throughout I feel that the Sitkovetsky-Geringas-Nemtsov trio presents both works with a greater edge and intensity and also instrumental security. It’s to their pairing – with the Weprik – that I would turn in the first instance.
Jonathan Woolf




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Editorial Board
Classical Editor
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Seen & Heard
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   Stan Metzger
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