A brand new recording of the outstanding Gould Trio (Lucy Gould - violin, Alice Neary - ʻcello, Benjamin Frith - piano) performing Tchaikovskyʼs Trio in A minor, Op.50 and Rachmaninovʼs Trio élégiaque No. 1 in G minor.
Tchaikovsky wrote comparatively little chamber music, yet his Piano Trio in A minor, op. 50, with its kaleidoscopic succession of moods, is probably the first important piano trio by a Russian composer This work is a big, ambitious piece in which the composer sets himself a multitude of challenges in what was for him a new medium.
The Trio did not take long to make its way into the repertoire, where it still stands as one of the supreme examples of the piano trio in the Romantic era.
Tchaikovskyʼs Trio, with its function as a memorial for Nikolai Rubinstein, seems to have initiated a Russian tradition of ʻelegiacʼ piano trios. The young Sergei Rachmaninov composed his first, the Trio élégiaque No. 1 in G minor, at white-hot speed between 18 and 21 January 1892. Not surprisingly, Rachmaninov assigns pride of place to the piano, making the Trio almost a miniature piano concerto.
It opens with murmuring, wind-blown string figures, creating an evocative background to the pianoʼs dolorous main theme, soon taken up by the strings. In similarity to the Tchaikovsky, the work concludes with an impressively gloomy funeral march.
“The Gould Trio rise to the challenge magnificently, with a particularly robust contribution from Benjamin Frith...The more extrovert Tchaikovsky, with all its bombastic and rhetorical episodes, is also very well handled, especially the central variations”
14th January 2011
“It is all too easy for these two piano trios to get bogged down in sentiment and density of texture, but the Gould finds a way of keeping the fabric transparent and airy while maintaining the elegiac tone that governs both of them.”
“[The Gould Trio's] players follow the composer's directions to the letter, bringing a natural flow to the various difficult changes in tempo in the first movement and mapping its emotional narrative most convincingly...In the final, Benjamin Frith impressively negotiates Tchaikovsky's full-blooded piano writing without coarsening it.”
“the Gould Piano Trio embrace [the Rachmaninov's] sweeping lyricism, shaping the piece nicely from the expressive murmuring of the opening...Unafraid of exposing the underlying emotion, their approach remains balanced yet expressive, equalling some 'superstar' performances of these works.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.