Notes and Editorial Reviews
A beautifully integrated account in which the Beaux Arts, with their intimate sense of scale, appear to be playing for one listener at a time.
As a glance at the above will show, this is not the old Beaux Arts version, for whose restoration I made a plea two years ago, but a new digital account recorded with their new cellist, Peter Wiley and in a different acoustic—The Maltings, Snape. In their old version they omitted the fugue (Var. 8), a practice sanctioned by the score (the Borodin—on Chandos—curiously enough, cut out the variation preceding it) but this time round the players restore it. However, they do make the traditional cut in the finale (bar 9 of page 86 to bar 4 of page 102—Eulenburg score). Unless memory
fails me, I seem to recall JW preferring the Trio's earlier 1972 Philips account on LP to other versions in a BBC "Building a Library" programme many years ago; and this newcomer is hardly less impressive. The recording is slightly warmer and more immediate, but the performance has the same air of intimacy as its predecessor. Ideas are allowed to unfold without any hint of overprojection and at the very opening these artists come closer to the restrained elegiac sentiment of this fine (if overlong) score than any of their rivals.
They are, generally speaking, more relaxed without in the least sacrificing sparkle, when this is called for. Perlman, Harrell and Ashkenazy (EMI), by comparison, seem to be addressing a wider concert hall audience while the Beaux Arts with their more intimate sense of scale are playing for one listener in his or her living room.
I like this unforced approach—neither Isidore Cohen nor Peter Wiley produces so rich or fullbodied a tone as their distinguished EMI rivals, but there is the right degree of responsive interplay between them. Menahem Pressler need hardly fear comparison with Ashkenazy, whom Max Harrison thought brought great distinction to the music but was "rather too emphatic". The EMI team, recorded in the CBS Studios in New York, have the greater sense of forward movement and generally adopt brisker speeds. (The Beaux Arts are more leisurely at 4633" as opposed [04145" last time—the fugal variation they omitted accounts for 2'49"—while the EM1 team playing every note, including the extra 15 pages, take just over two minutes longer, or to be precise, 48'57".)
So, for those who want the Trio uncut, the Perlman/Harrell/Ashkenazy version will still remain a clear choice. However, the new Beaux Arts is a beautifully integrated account which I would none the less prefer.
-- Gramophone [12/1989]
Works on This Recording
Trio for Piano and Strings in A minor, Op. 50 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Menahem Pressler (Piano),
Peter Wiley (Cello),
Isidore Cohen (Violin)
Beaux Arts Trio
Written: 1881-1882; Russia
Venue: The Maltings, Snape, Aldeburgh
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Good standard performance June 21, 2012
By Paul R. (Hollywood, FL) See All My Reviews
"If you like Tchiakovsky somewhat understated, or more "classical" (which is what most Russian performances present), this very fine performance of the Trio Op. 50 should satisfy. Elegant playing and perfection of ensemble are dominant here; emotional connection with the listener is quieter and more objective than some performances (such as the Perlman, Ashkenazy, Harrel), but the music stands on its own in this solid interpretation. Archive's reproduction is excellent with good sound, but the program notes tend to be printed too lightly, possibly because of the nature of the glossy paper."