ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS
PIOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY - PIANO TRIO IN A MINOR


PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY - PIANO TRIO IN A MINOR, OP. 50 - YEFIM BRONFMAN (Piano) - GIL SHAHAM (Violin) - TRULS MORK (Cello) - CANARY CLASSICS CC05

Another new label, founded by Gil Shaham, that is off to a very, very good start.

Talk with anyone about Tchaikovsky, and the conversation inevitably revolves around the Nutcracker or Swan Lake ballets, the 1812 overture, the Violin concerto or symphonies 5 and 6, but nobody ever mentions his chamber music. That is sad because this Piano Trio is a monumental piece of music that deserves to be much better known and appreciated.

It is a long chamber work, almost symphonic in scale and form, and is so well written that you soon forget that it is simply a trio. It is written in 2 sections, with an opening movement full of deep sadness that spans 18 minutes by itself. It is followed by a Theme and set of 12 Variations that contain all moods from great joy, pathos and the deep sadness of the first movement returning at the very end to close the work in sorrow and darkness (the last section is actually marked Andante con moto - Lugubre). It's as if the tragedy in the first movement, after a long series of reminiscences of life during the Variations, is re-exposed in the last closing moments.

The musicians here are all well established titans of their individual instruments, and on this recording, bringing their magic together, have produced an interpretation of monumental proportions. The varying moods, the pacing, the interplay between each other, the ever changing nuances, the deep emotions...all perfectly done. This is small scale Tchaikovsky that looms very large. A grand achievement that I strongly recommend.

Jean-Yves Duperron