Moritz MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925)
Suite in G minor for two violins and piano, Op.71 [18:18]
Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974)
Sonata for two violins and piano, Op.15 (1914) [17:37]
Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959)
Sonatina for two violins and piano, H.198 (1930) [12:27]
Trio Koch
No recording details
ETCETERA KTC 1543 [48:59]

This is a most unusual mix of composers in the itself unusual genre of works cast for two violins and piano. It helps that the three musicians are all family members; the Trio Koch is made up by the two violinists, father Philippe and daughter Laurence, and by son Jean-Philippe at the piano. Harmonious relations are thus ensured.

Moszkowski is best known for his salon-based piano charmers and virtuoso effusions, not least the wrist-crippling Études de virtuosité. Writing for his own instrument and the two violins in the Suite provides him with tremendous opportunities for imitative writing to which the Trio Koch respond with breadth of tone and ripe sonority. Though he was born in Breslau Moszkowski mines the Viennese waltz songbook in his quick-witted Scherzo, and encourages warm but not cloying sentiment in the slow movement. Quicksilver articulation, fast bowing and deft piano placement, animates the vivid finale – the trio catches the allied light-hearted vein perfectly, too.

Milhaud’s Sonata is an early work and, as with so many such works of his, it’s full of creative wit. Its generosity of feeling has a dance-like vitality and even in the refined polytonality of the central movement one finds a lullaby-like softness and charm. The March theme that drives the finale is emphatically projected by the trio, which sounds fully inside the idiom. The best-known of this trio of works is Martinů’s Sonatina. It is full of typical rhythmic patterns of his 1930 self. The compressed and quietly passionate central movement was played at his funeral, and is worthily done here whilst the finale is one of his bracing and excitingly voiced poco allegros.

No recording details, either location or date, are given which is a shame as the location and the engineering are highly sympathetic. At times the piano can be heard to dominate the ensemble but that may be because Jean-Philippe is inclined to take the lead in places. The notes are helpful. At 49-minutes strict judges would have wanted more on the programme.

Jonathan Woolf

Previous review: Brian Reinhart

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