I really enjoyed this
CD of piano trios, finding the interpretations interesting and
absorbing and the recorded sound very sympathetic to the needs
of the players and the repertoire. I am acquainted with these
lovely trios, but, until now, had never heard of the Trio Cracovia
– let alone their performances or recordings. The otherwise
very informative accompanying notes for the CD do not actually
tell one much at all about them as an entity, but plenty about
the musical and academic accomplishments of the three musicians,
who are all teachers/professors/performers working at a very
high level. They have made other recordings together.
Some reviewers like
to compare recordings and, if one has one’s favourite recordings
of certain works, it is sometimes difficult not to do this,
but I prefer to take a tabula rasa approach, if possible.
What we have here is not just three - well-known or otherwise!
- musicians getting together for a recording; they sound, to
me, as if they play regularly together and really know each
other well and “mesh” stylistically, interpretatively and musically
as a Trio.
The Trio Cracovia
play with a full-blooded Eastern European style, with ongoing
rhythm, clean, eloquent articulation and phrasing. They offer
a very lively musical approach where the instruments blend and
“sing” together, the musicians “giving and taking” and interacting
so well together. The recorded sound is clear and has a nice
“resonance” but is at the same time, immediate. The recordings
were produced by Malgortzata Polańska.
The Beethoven trio
is well-known and the Trio launch straight into their interpretation
with a commanding style which immediately captures and holds
one’s attention. The performance is well-prepared and the musicians
play with total commitment and authority, making this a very
interesting and enjoyable recording to which one can listen
again and again – and still find absorbing.
The Rachmaninov has
a totally different mien – more expansive, opening with a more
sombre mood, with exquisite melodic themes with the instruments
interweaving effortlessly, reminding me - as I listen to this
on my car CD player - of the buzzards I see every day soaring
in the thermals! This is very much Rachmaninov – the long sweeping
melodies and textures, beautifully played with a lively “pulse”.
The Brahms Trio is
almost a “mini-symphony” for this medium, with its powerful
opening and “restless syncopated rhythm and forceful dynamics”
- as the “sleeve note” aptly describe it!. The Trio members
bring authority and variety to the little triplet figure which
is the main feature of the opening theme and the austere harmonies,
evoking the underlying melancholy atmosphere. The players capture
the relative stillness of the lovely slow movement and then
go on to the faster, more complex last movement with its churning
theme and brilliance, bringing out the work’s pathos and drama.