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Notes and Editorial Reviews
Trio in e,
op. 90, ?Dumky.?
Trio in g,
. Romantic Pieces,
KOCH 77657 (76:16)
Donald Weilerstein was the founding first violinist of the Cleveland Quartet; his wife Vivian Hornick Weilerstein a notable pianist who had her own solo career as well as joining him in the
Weilerstein Duo. To add a young daughter to such a distinguished team might seem a foolish step by doting parents, but Alisa has been widely recognized as one of the leading musicians of her generation. The family trio had been playing together for 18 years when this recording was made in 2004, having performed in public when Alisa was six. We expect a first violinist to have an aggressive musical personality, but it was one of the Cleveland Quartet?s greatest assets that Donald Weilerstein was so thoroughly a chamber musician, part of the team rather than a soloist. In these performances, he seems even more reticent, allowing his superstar daughter to lead the way. The dark music of these trios can only benefit from an emphasis on the cello.
The Weilersteins give a breathtakingly beautiful reading of the ?Dumky? Trio, capturing its deep sorrows without ever becoming maudlin, yet eliciting the full excitement of its many contrasting passages. This is a work I had given up on; too many recordings had crossed my desk over the years, so many of them unsatisfactory. It is a special delight to welcome this unusual piece (one of Dvo?ák?s few instrumental ones not written in classical forms) in the performance I plan to live with. The violin-cello duet near the end of the Andante, played almost Adagio, is one of many magical moments. The listener feels that the Weilersteins understand Dvo?ák perfectly, placing expressiveness ahead of mere virtuosity.
The performance of the early G-Minor Trio is nearly as successful. Equally dark music? Dvo?ák had suffered the death of an infant daughter?it is a more conventional piece from a not-quite-fully-formed composer. A few frantic moments are pushed a bit hard, with the piano becoming a touch raucous, but the sprightly rhythms of the Scherzo and final Allegro con brio emerge unscathed.
Alisa Weilerstein is wonderful in
Her tone is pure and her intonation secure over the cello?s entire range. She achieves a sense of deep feeling without ever crossing into schmaltz, a delicate balance in the exposed solo line of this ever-so-romantic music. I cannot recall another performance that kept me entranced for its nearly five minutes.
The op. 75 set for violin and piano is filled with lovely music, and it receives a fine, sympathetic performance from Donald and Vivian, but the special spark that Alisa has provided is missed, leaving little doubt that she is the heart of this very special disc.
Koch?s recorded sound is close and warm, almost (but not quite) claustrophobic. It too suits this intimate music. The piano can be a bit tinny in its upper registers, but that is probably the instrument more than the recording.
FANFARE: James H. North
Works on This Recording
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
rock star trio December 23, 2012
By Carole M. (Houston, TX) See All My Reviews
"I went looking for Alisa Weilerstein and found her whole family. This is just an incredibly warm performance by three people who understand each other completely. Superlatives galore."