Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor, op. 66 [28:32]
Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, op. 49 [27:36]
rec. January 2014, St George's, Bristol, UK
BIS BIS-2109 SACD [56:59]
This is one of those CDs that has spent most of the last two weeks in the
tray of my CD player and it has, in no way, outstayed its welcome. I just
keep returning to it, playing it and enjoying it. I fully concur with the
sentiments expressed by my colleague David Barker, who reviewed it in June,
according it 'Recording of the Month' status, an accolade it certainly
This recording comes hot on the heels of the Sitkovetsky Trio's release
last year of an album (BIS-CD-2059) of piano trios by Dvořák and Smetana,
which included the Suk Elegy, their debut for the BIS label, which has been
greeted with great critical acclaim. Since the Trio's formation in 2007 they
appear to have gone from strength to strength, scooped up various awards
along the way - The International Schumann Chamber Music Award 2008, and the
NORDMETALL Chamber Music Award at the Mecklenberg Vorpommern Festival 2009.
Their success has taken them all across Europe, and tours to China,
Australia and the USA are on the cards.
Unusually the trios are placed in reverse order, maybe to end the CD with
the more popular of the two trios. What draws me to these performances is
the impassioned and high voltage playing on offer. These are three
instrumentalists at the top of their game, who blend well and play with a
sense of shared purpose. Tempi, phrasing and dynamics all seem comfortable
and right and couldn't be bettered.
The Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor, op. 66 is the lesser known of the two, yet
this performance has won me over, and I can now see the wealth of melody and
lyricism which imbues the score. The first movement opens with a sense of
unease and continues with fire, energy and drive. In the slow movement the
players evoke a feeling of wistful nostalgia. The Scherzo is delightful,
light, quicksilver and capricious. The Trio is capped with an eloquent
In the more familiar Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, op. 49, the first
movement delivers drama and passionate fervour. A 'song without words'
describes the slow movement, and the Sitkovetsky's are raptly intense. The
Scherzo is a virtuosic tour de force
, fleet and mercurial in true
Mendelssonian spirit. The finale is awash with lush romantic gestures.
The BIS engineers have furnished these performances with state-of-the-art
sound and St George's, Bristol boasts a superb acoustic. Perfect balance
between all three instrumentalists has been achieved. It doesn't get much
better than this.
I hope we'll be hearing more from these deeply committed artists in the
Previous review: David Barker
(Recording of the Month)