Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)
Trios élégiaques - No. 1 in G minor (1892); No. 2 in D minor, Op. 9. Deux Morceaux de Salon, Op. 2. Deux Morceaux de Salon, Op. 6.
The Moscow Rachmaninov Trio (Viktor Yampolsky, piano; Makhail Tsinman, violins; Natalia Savinova, cello).
Hyperion CDA67178 [DDD] [75'10]

This disc of early Rachmaninov reveals another, complementary side of a composer too often perceived as a shamelessly heart-on-sleeve Romantic. That is not to imply that the whole personality changes: long, yearning melodies are a clear feature of this world. But so too is an intimacy that occasionally acts as a gateway to a darker, shadowier place than might be expected from this composer.

The first Trio élégaique is a much slighter piece than its Op. 9 brother. It introduces the sweet-toned violin of Tsinman and the emotional cello playing of Savinova, and acts mainly as a preparation for the compositionally vituosic second trio.

The Op. 6 Trio was begun on the evening of Tchaikovsky's death and the distraught first movement is overpowering in its emotional weight. Light begins to filter through in the second movement (aided by Yampolsky's sparkling fingerwork) and in this performance the risoluto final movement fully lives up to its marking.

The pieces for violin and piano (Op. 6, 1893) and cello and piano (Op. 2, 1892) act as delightful interludes between the two trios (they are not even mentioned on the CD cover). Both Yamposky and Savinova enjoy their moments in the spotlight, the cellist colouring his account of the Danse orientale most affectingly. The second violin piece, Danse hongroise, is ideal encore material and is given plenty of life here. Strangely, the recording balance (otherwise well thought-out) becomes disconcertingly close all of a sudden.

An enjoyable disc, well worth exploring and which eclipses the Bekova Sisters on Chandos (CHAN9329, offering only the Trios).


Colin Clarke



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