One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor in Chief: Rob Barnett


CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider

 

  • Groundbreaking Weber
  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo
  • Stellar debut<br>piano recital
  • Clarinet transcriptions Jonathan Cohler
  • French clarinet masterpieces
  • Groundbreaking Weber

MWI RECORDING
OF THE YEAR


CD review L Wright
BBC Prom
CBSO Birmingham

MWI Editor In Chief
Recording of the Year


Orchestral Music


music that will please greatly


Captivating scores

Symphonies - Philippe Jordan
A pleasure to see and hear


vital imagination


Henrik HELLSTENIUS
A harum-scarum springboard


Always expect the unexpected


Buy through MusicWeb from £14.25 postage paid.
You may prefer to pay by Sterling cheque or Euro notes to avoid PayPal. Contact for details

Musicweb Purchase button

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Piano Trio in B flat Archduke Op.97 (1811) [39:59]
Lasse THORESEN (b. 1949)
The Descent of Luminous Waters (2002) [26:00]
Grieg Trio
rec. May 2006, Ostsiden kirke, Fredrikstad. DDD
SIMAX CLASSICS PSC 1167 [65:59]





This is the third disc in an enterprising cycle of Beethoven's piano trios performed by the Grieg Trio of - where else? - Norway. There are a plethora of cycles available in all price brackets. EMI alone has two complete cycles available on its Gemini label from Barenboim/du Pré/Zukerman and Ashkenazy/Perlman/Harrell, as well as a newly released pair of CDs featuring the Chung Trio. This Simax cycle, though, has a distinguishing feature. Like Michael Gielen's Mahler cycle on Hänssler, the Grieg Trio's Beethoven cycle couples each of the master's piano trios with a work in the same medium by a contemporary composer. The first instalment, released in 2002, coupled Beethoven's C Minor Trio, Op.1, No.3, the Kakadu Variations and the early Allegretto WoO 39 with Jouni Kaipainen's Trio III. A second disc, released last year, saw Beethoven's Op.1 No.2 and Op.70 No.1 "The Ghost" framing Peter Maxwell-Davies' A Voyage to Fair Isle. With this release the other Op.70 trio is paired with a new trio by Norwegian composer Lasse Thoresen.

This performance of the Archduke is refined, relaxed and brimful of quiet contentment. It almost sounds like Beethoven really meant to write this trio in F major rather than B flat, so close is the mood of this performance to that of the Spring Sonata and the Pastoral Symphony. It is not so much that the Grieg Trio are slower than their rivals on record, but more a question of emphasis. The Chung Trio, for example, take roughly the same amount of time over each movement, but find an energy in the music that makes their account of this genial piece consistently exciting. The Grieg Trio do not so much miss this energy as leave it to one side. Overall they prefer to concentrate on the gentle flow of Beethoven's ideas, emphasising the moderato in the allegro moderato of the opening and closing movements, and the cantabile of the andante cantabile third movement. The latent energy does emerge in the scherzo, which is nicely pointed, but even here the effect is charming rather than jocose. The Grieg Trio's approach makes for an interpretative point of difference which may, depending on your position on beautiful Beethoven, persuade you to purchase.

Thoresen's The Descent of Luminous Waters arcs in a single movement through an impressionistic sound world. The title is more than pretty language, as the piece is in essence a tone poem for piano trio. In quieter passages, as at the opening, you can almost see splashes and the reflection of light off the water's surface, with a burbling wash of notes issuing from the piano underneath the dancing violin and cello lines. The crystalline quality of the writing for violin in particular recalls the sound world of Ravel here, while the spread of the harmonic fabric reminds me of Takemitsu. Rougher music, like water cascading over and being churned up by rocks and debris, begins to alternate with the quieter splashy music, and here the thumping chords from piano and strings take on an angry minimalist colour. Thoresen's idiom is not at all difficult, but nor is it facile. This is engaging music that holds the attention for its full 26 minute duration and is a worthy addition to the piano trio literature.

In both works, the Grieg Trio play with tight ensemble and particularly in the Beethoven genuinely beautiful tone. With detailed liner notes by Malcolm MacDonald, and clean recorded sound (mastered at Abbey Road), this really is quite an attractive disc.

Tim Perry


 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

 

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Altus 10% off
Arcodiva
Atoll 10% off
CDAccord
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Hortus
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sheva £2 off
Sterling 10% off
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Editor in Chief
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger
 

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.