One of the most grown-up review sites around

2020
53,992 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


 
Founder: Len Mullenger                                     Editor in Chief: John Quinn              

Some items
to consider


Chopin Edition 17CDs
now available separately
£11 post-free anywhere


TROUBADISC

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas


Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets


 

Recordings of the Month

September


Opera transcriptions & fantasias


TAKEMITSU MESSIAEN


Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets


Schubert Symphony 9

August


Jean-Baptiste LEMOYNE


Enescu Ravel Britten


Debussy Images etc.


53 Studies on Chopin Études 1
Konstantin Scherbakov (piano)

 

 

 


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)
Piano Trio in A minor (1914) [25:52]
Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899)
Piano Quartet in A major, Op. 30 (1897) [35:14]
Trio Machiavelli
rec. 2019, SWR Studio, Kaiserlautern, Germany
BERLIN CLASSICS 0301417BC [61:13]

What immediately draws me to this new release is the coupling of the Ravel Trio with the Chausson Piano Quartet. Browsing the catalogue, there are numerous instances of the two composer’s piano trios being paired, but this combination seems to be a first. The logic behind the programming is that the positive flavour of the Chausson acts as the perfect counterbalance to the dark and intensive character of the Ravel. The booklet notes point to another link, this time between the composers themselves – yes, serious traffic accidents. A taxi cab accident eventually put paid to Ravel’s composing career, whilst Chausson died at the premature age of 44 due to a cycling accident.

Although Ravel had begun thinking about his Piano Trio as far back as 1908, the gestation was slow.  He was intent on finishing it when World War 1 began. Pulling out all the stops he penned the finishing bars in August 1914 with the aim of enlisting. Claire Huangci, the pianist in this recording, makes it plain that the Trio is no easy task, and demands 150% from the players. Quirky, with many textures and layers in addition to complexity of the individual parts, the Machiavelli Trio waited and explored other music "until we felt we were ready for it". Their patience has paid off. This is one of the finest recordings of this work I've heard. The work is suave and sensuous, and I once heard it described as "a dreamy palette of impressionist colour". Throughout, the Machiavelli Trio are sensitive to the music's ebb and flow, and the engineering balance between the three instrumentalists couldn't be better. The opening movement betrays Ravel's Basque heritage. Then follows a Pantoum, the name referring to a Malaysian verse form. The ensemble perform it with infectious exuberance, at the same time capturing the playful quality. The Pasacaille's processional tread unfolds as a set of variations. It starts life in the depths, rises to potent climax and then fades away. The finale is a tour de force, with tremolos, trills, energy and flourish.

Chausson’s less well-known Piano Quartet in A, Op. 30 dates from 1897, two years before the composer’s untimely death. The first movement sets a mood of optimism and good cheer. There follows a sublime slow movement marked Très calme, both limpid and poetic. Adrien Boisseau’s viola theme at the outset is both ardent and yearning. I detected some Debussian influence in the scherzo-like third movement, whilst the finale, rather long, revisits themes from earlier movements.

The Ravel, then, takes centre stage, and the performance stands up well in a crowded field. Both works have been beautifully recorded. On the strength of these life-enhancing performances, I would like to hear more from this group.

Stephen Greenbank
 
Performers
Solenne Païdassi (violin)
Tristan Cornut (cello)
Claire Huangci (piano)
Adrien Boisseau (viola) (Chausson)



Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage



Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger