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Oistrakh Trio play Russian Piano Trios - The Russian Archives
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Piano Trio in A Minor, Op. 50 In Memory of a Great Artist [39:16]
Mikhail GLINKA (1804-1857)
Trio Pathétique
in D Minor [15:35]
Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908)
Piano Trio in C Minor (completed in 1939 by Maximilian Steinberg) [38:19]
Sergei TANAYEV (1856-1915)
Piano Trio in D, Op. 22 [38:47]
Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)
Trio élégiaque
No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 9 [46:35]
Vissarion SHEBALIN (1902-1963)
Piano Trio in A, Op. 39 [18:03]
Oistrakh Trio (David Oistrakh (violin), Sviatoslav Knushevitsky (cello), Lev Oborin (piano))
rec. 1948-1957, Moscow?
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9272 [3 CDs: 64:18 + 76:07 + 54:28]


As is their practice Brilliant Classics cull multiple ‘son of …’ volumes from their larger boxes as well as ringing the changes in many other ways. This triple derives from the 10-CD set (9101) of the Oistrakh Trio, which also included Beethoven’s Triple Concerto and two other trios as well as piano trios by Brahms, Chopin, Dvořák, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Ravel, Schubert, Smetana and Schumann.
 
The playing is typically elite, of invincible musicality, dynamic, imaginative and the very antithesis of autopilot. The sound is clean, cosies close-up to the ear, slightly claustrophobic but very pleasing, untiring and natural. It appears to be mono but is comparable with the sort of high quality signal one heard from BBC’s Radio 3 FM in the 1960s. Highlights abound, including the long-limbed balletic cantabile of the Moderato of Tchaikovsky’s A minor trio (in memory of Nikolai Rubinstein) and the sustained, gloomy, cloud-hung soulfulness and belligerence of the Rachmaninov. Strange to tell, the Tchaikovsky sounded so much better than it did when it formed part of Brilliant’s magnificent Tchaikovsky Edition (review) yet it seems to be the same tape. The Rachmaninov was written in memory of Tchaikovsky.
 
Sad that we have to make do with only one lyrical and heart-searching movement from Vissarion Shebalin’s romantic Trio in A. It was written as late as 1947. Other notables include the Beethoven-meets-Bellini classicism of the Glinka Trio and the Rimsky Trio. The latter was completed, as were several of Rimsky’s works, by his son-in-law, the composer Maximilian Steinberg for whom a cycle of his symphonies was started by Neeme Järvi for DG but sadly never completed (review). The writing is fluent and classical - nothing of the Russian nationalist about this; is that Rimsky or Steinberg, I wonder? The Taneyev Piano Trio is a big, symphonic-scale work, smoothly written, again in a Germanic classical style.
 
The notes are in English only by Ates Orga. I can see those who get this wanting to track down the 10-CD set. However, in this 3CD form, it will alternately delight and satisfy those who would rather have only the Russian piano trio works.
 
Rob Barnett 

 

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