Notes and Editorial Reviews
SIBELIUS Piano Trio in D, “Korpo.” Piano Trio in C, “Lovisa.” Andantino in g. Allegretto in A. Allegro in d. Allegretto in E. Alla marcia in C / Folke Gräsbeck (pn); Jaakko Kuusisto (vn); Marko Ylönen (vc)(66:39)
Let’s fly the Swedish flag, before heading off to Finland. All hail the BIS label, for 30 years of artistic evangelism, which have transformed the world of recorded classical music (no family connection). Robert von Bahr and his company deserve all the credit we can give them for extending the range of available repertoire and upholding the highest technical standards. In the mid 1970s, von Bahr put his personal convictions about music and recording into practice, armed with just a Revox A77 and a good mike.
The results were inspiring, right from those early LPs with a half-cover sleeve at the back, whether of early music, rare Scandinavian repertoire, or unknown contemporary works. Those wild Segerstam quartets still pack quite a punch. Before long, BIS started their “Complete Sibelius” project, the effect of which, at the very least, was to make a great composer seem all the greater.
“Completion” has turned out to be a hard-to-define notion, when it comes to the great bibulous Finnish master. More and more unknown works are being released from the archives. The BIS recording of the astounding Jedermann (BIS CD 735) was a revelation for any lover of 20th century music, let alone the Sibelius enthusiast. The hour spent here in the company of earlier, mostly unknown works for piano trio is less revelatory, but nothing is negligible. The 35-minute “Korpo” trio of 1887 holds plenty of pointers to the mature Sibelius, in the figuration and sequential writing. Otherwise, Brahms and Schubert are obvious influences, but this is not juvenilia. The huge, mainly slow central movement is a first stab by the young composer at the sort of amalgamated form he would devise for his symphonic poems. Sibelius hinted that there was a narrative content here. He wrote the trio on a long family holiday in the Turku islands (near Korpo): a holiday romance, or something historical? For the Sibelian, it is another extended, fascinating journey, though not all the themes are man enough to take the extended treatment.
The shorter “Lovisa” trio of 1888 is slightly better known, and just as clearly by Sibelius right from the start, though the tunes are more four-square than the ones he’d been inspired to write the previous summer. Just a year later, and the D-Minor Allegro sends us on a very different journey, this time with Lemminkäinen. The disc proceeds chronologically, and the miniatures (some completed by other hands) get less and less polite as time goes by, until the 1895 Alla marcia opens with an outrageous flourish on the piano, and ends the CD with a bang. No argument with the expert, passionate performances, or with the typically excellent recording, by Uli Schneider. This disc is another winner from BIS, and all Sibelians should hear it.
Paul Ingram, FANFARE Read less
Works on This Recording
Piano Trio in D major, "Korpo", JS 209 : I. Allegro moderato
Piano Trio in D major, "Korpo", JS 209 : II. Fantasia
Piano Trio in D major, "Korpo", JS 209 : III. Finale
Andantino in G minor, JS 43
Allegretto in A flat major: [Allegretto] in A flat major
Piano Trio in C major, "Loviisa", JS 208: I. Allegro
Piano Trio in C major, "Loviisa", JS 208: II. Andante - Pui lento - Lento
Piano Trio in C major, "Loviisa", JS 208: III. Allegro con brio
Allegro in D minor: [Allegro] in D minor
Allegretto in E flat major: [Allegretto] in E flat major
Alla marcia in C major: [Alla marcia] in C major
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