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Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916)
Piano Trio in C Major, op. 50 (1895) [25:55]
Madrigal, for cello and piano (1915) [5:54]
Danza gallega, for cello and piano (1899) [5:05]
Trova, for cello and piano (1912) [6:39]
Tres preludios, for violin and piano (3:27) [3:27]
Violin Sonata (1895, incomplete) [19:47]
Trio Rodin (Jorge Mengotti (piano), Carles Puig (violin), Esther García (cello))
rec. 2015, Kulturni Center Lojze Bratu, Gorizia, Italy
Reviewed as lossless download from eClassical
AEVEA CLASSICS AE16013 [72:25]

I first encountered the Granados trio in a Naxos recording (8.572262 - review) by the LOM Trio, coupled with his quintet from the same year. At the time, I commented on the “seemingly simple, but quite breathtakingly lovely piano melody” that opens the work. It recurs through the first movement, and there are hints in some of the string passages as well. It brings to mind music from a particular TV show, but I can’t remember which. Jorge Mengotti gives it an even greater sense of serene beauty here. While I certainly enjoyed the Naxos version, it is put in the shade by this new recording. Trio Rodin, which consists of three young Spanish performers, give a far more nuanced performance, and for three movements, persuade the listener that the work is more than just pleasingly melodious. It is not their fault that the finale is significantly less inspired, and more salon in its nature, than the first three.

The violin sonata is the other major work presented here. New to me, it seems on first inspection to be very unbalanced, with a first movement exceeding ten minutes, and the final two movements accounting for a total of only four. However, on reading the notes, it turns out that it was not finished, and this is the first recording of the second movement and the incomplete third and fourth. The first movement is slow, seething with restrained emotions; quite beautiful and making one seriously regret that the work was was never completed. As with the Trio, the Spanish characteristics are relatively muted.

The smaller pieces are certainly more than just space fillers in terms of quality. They are mostly slow in tempo, but ordered to give sufficient variation. Trova and Danza gallega are arrangements by Granados of excerpts from orchestral works, Elisenda and Suite sobre cantos gallegos respectively. The Romanza, with some of the same atmosphere pervading the opening of the trio, is lovely in its simplicity.

Last year I reviewed another release from this newish Italian label – chamber music by Taneyev – which was so poor in so many ways, I felt it shouldn’t have been released. Fortunately, I have no such concerns about this. All three performers here produce a beautifully refined sound – I’m very impressed by pianist Mengotti – and the audio quality is excellent. The notes are informative, though the English translation is not entirely idiomatic.

I loved this recording - the music deserves to be better known, and I look forward to more offerings from Trio Rodin.

David Barker

Previous review: Stephen Barber



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