Shostakovich & Tchaikovsky: Piano Trios
Gidon Kremer, Martha Argerich & Mischa Maisky
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"It's loud, it's harsh, but it sounds like sound and fury signifying nothing."
I've been looking for recordings of the Shostakovich trio for some time, and I thought I might give this one a shot. I had heard a lot of negative things about this performance prior to listening, none of which I wanted to believe until I had heard it. Unfortunately, they are largely true. (The title of this review is taken from one of those reviews.) The three performers are often not together, and many spots are noticably rough around the edges. The second movement in particular is simply awful, and the fourth isn't much better. Apart from mere technical issues, though, I sometimes felt as though their heart simply wasn't in it. Shostakovich's music is some of the most powerful stuff I have ever heard, but here it seemed as though they were just playing the notes. And where is the structure? And the Tchaikovsky wasn't anything to write home about, either, but I don't know that piece as well, so I can't say much about that. Simply put, this is terrific music, terribly represented. For the Shostakovich, the only other recording offered on iTunes that I know much about is the Stern-Ma-Ax recording, and while Emanuel Ax, too, leaves something to be desired in that album, it is nonetheless a much better representation of this music, and includes the simply sublime Sonata for Cello. Get that one instead, and don't waste your money on this high-powered flop.
i'm not even really that familiar with these two works. i love shostakovich and the way he writes for chamber ensembles so i'm sure his piece is wonderful and it would be interesting to hear tchaikovsky write for a smaller medium, but i just love how there is an audience applause track to kick the cd off. that rules.
Born: February 27, 1947 in Riga, Latvia
Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s