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Tchaikovksy, Shostakovich: Trios / David Trio

Tchaikovksy / Shostakovich
Release Date: 09/13/2011 
Label:  Stradivarius   Catalog #: 33861   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Dmitri ShostakovichPeter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Orchestra/Ensemble:  David Trio (Piano Trio)
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 17 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

TCHAIKOVSKY Piano Trio in a. SHOSTAKOVICH Piano Trio No. 2 in e David Trio STRADIVARIUS 33861 (76:59)

I’ve heard many recordings of Tchaikovsky’s A-Minor Piano Trio, some better than others, but none until now that I could go on rapturously about for paragraphs on end. It’s a difficult piece to make a persuasive argument for; being structurally weak and written with little enthusiasm by the composer, it’s not one of Tchaikovsky’s most inspired Read more works.

The David Trio, founded in 2004, is an Italian ensemble. Its members are Daniele Pascoletti, violin; Patrizio Serino, cello; and Claudio Trovajoli, piano. And according to its official website, the group has recorded two other albums for Stradivarius, Schubert’s B?-Major Trio and a disc pairing a Haydn trio with Brahms’s B-Major Trio. I searched for both of them, as well as for this new Tchaikovsky/Shostakovich coupling, at all of the usual mail-order outlets, but to no avail. The only place I found them listed was at Stradivarius’s Italian-language website. Based on this new release, I want the other two and I want them NOW.

This is absolutely stunning playing and a stunning recording. The David Trio’s tonal opulence restrained by a measure of self-control and enhanced by meticulous technique and ensemble balance ensures a reading of the Tchaikovsky that skims off the excess schmaltz to reveal the sinew beneath it. It’s a performance that manages to be emotionally expressive without ever succumbing to the temptation of mawkish sentimentality. Though the first movement still suffers from making too much of too little, the David Trio can’t be blamed for that; it’s Tchaikovsky’s fault. But at its core, the second movement exhibits sound instincts and the composer’s perhaps underestimated facility for variations technique.

Heretofore, a favorite recording of the work has been with Vadim Repin, Dmitri Yablonsky, and Boris Berezovsky on Erato. I wouldn’t have imagined that three Italians would outshine three Russians in music from their home turf, but wonders never cease. On all counts—execution, interpretation, and recording—the David Trio now becomes my first choice for this work.

The ensemble’s Shostakovich is equally impressive—no surprise that the group has won numerous prestigious awards—but this score is one of the piano trio repertoire’s greatest masterpieces, and the number of outstanding recordings make for a hotly contested field. The coupling of the Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No. 2 is not an uncommon one. The Rosamunde Trio did it (reviewed in Fanfare 32:3), as did the aforementioned Repin/Yablonsky/Berezovsky, and Kremer/Maisky/Argerich in a live 1998 Deutsche Grammophon recording from Tokyo. There are others, too, but if the coupling appeals to you, in some instances you may find the performance of the Tchaikovsky more desirable than that of the Shostakovich or vice-versa. The wonderful thing about the David’s recording is that the performances are unquestionably in the very top ranks for both works.

It’s only January, and we’re already starting out on a very high note for new chamber-music releases. This one is urgently recommended.

FANFARE: Jerry Dubins
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Works on This Recording

Trio for Piano and Strings no 2 in E minor, Op. 67 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  David Trio (Piano Trio)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; USSR 
Date of Recording: 04/2010 
Venue:  Istituto Pontificio, Roma 
Length: 26 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Trio for Piano and Strings in A minor, Op. 50 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Orchestra/Ensemble:  David Trio (Piano Trio)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881-1882; Russia 
Date of Recording: 04/2010 
Venue:  Istituto Pontificio, Roma 
Length: 47 Minutes 13 Secs. 

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