Notes and Editorial Reviews
Piano Trios: No. 1–3.
6 Etudes in Canonic Form
CONCERTO 2065 (2 CDs: 123:53) Live: Reggio Emilia, 11/24–25/2010
is more like it! Here are Schumann’s three fascinating and emotionally powerful string trios played by a group that sounds as if it is their mission to convince you of this music’s greatness. The Parma Trio, formed in 1990 by
three stellar students (violinist Ivan Rabaglia, cellist Enrico Bronzi, and pianist Alberto Miodini) at the Arrigo Boito Conservatory in that city, plays with the kind of no-holds-barred sweep and drive that such groups as the Beaux Arts Trio and I Musici had in their salad days. As a result, not one phrase of this music is given in a perfunctory manner; every note, it seems, has undergone careful scrutiny by the trio, then internalized so that they can produce these sterling performances.
Perhaps playing live gives these performances that extra edge. Some musicians just seem to be able to do their best before an audience. Whatever the reason, the result is well worth hearing by anyone who appreciates Schumann in general or these piano trios—sometimes maligned by critics—in particular. Schumann’s energetic yet sometimes quirky style, in which he often seems to break off a thought to inject yet another, is never more in evidence than in this music, and in the slow movement of Trio No. 2, with its quirky, loping triple meter and downward-tending minor-key melodic line, I hear the possible influence of Chopin. And just listen to the sense of mystery they bring to the first piece (marked Romance) in the
I think what impresses me most about this ensemble is that the members play, and think, as one brain somehow playing three instruments simultaneously. There’s no other way to describe their togetherness and almost kinetic energy.
Of competing versions there are excellent performances of just the three trios by Ilya Gringolts, Dmitry Kouzov, and Peter Laul on Onyx 4072, and the afore-praised Beaux Arts Trio on Philips 456323-2. All of these pieces are given by Christian Tetzlaff, Tanja Tetzlaff, and Leif Ove Andsnes on EMI 94180. On ArkivMusic, the Parma Trio has four other albums available: music of Liszt on Concerto 2066, Pizzetti sonatas on Musicmedia 2057, more music by Pizzetti on Concerto 2056, and Shostakovich trios on Stradivarius 33706. They may all be as good as this—their CD of the Pizzetti sonatas is a recommended disc—but one thing is for sure, their Schumann is fabulous. This is a must-hear album.
FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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