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The Art Music Lounge - 15.08.19



BEETHOVEN: String Trio in Eb. Serenade in D / Trio Italiano d’Archi / Brilliant Classics 95819

Those readers who already own this fine group’s recordings of these works on Deutsche Grammophon may assume that this is a reissue, but it is not. The DG recordings were made in 1999 and include all of Beethoven’s pieces for string trio. This new one was recorded just last year (2018). The differences between the two versions may seem small but are, in fact, quite noticeable. In addition to the far greater presence of this new Brilliant recording (aptly named!)—the trio almost seems to be playing right in your living room, the sound is so realistic—there is much more nuance in this new performance. The earlier recording was just as taut in the fast passages, and the tempi were quite similar, but in this new incarnation the trio introduces subtle but noticeable rubato, even in the Allegro first movement of the Trio in Eb, which adds considerable interest to the proceedings.

In both cases, however, I really like, and prefer, the brightness of the Italian string players to the richer but thicker sound of a real German trio playing this music. In neither recording does Trio Italiano d’Archi use straight tone,  but rather the last, light vibrato indigenous to Italian (and some Russian) string players. This is historically correct, no matter what the acamademics (yes, I purposely misspelled that because I have little respect for them) will tell you.

As for the music, these are indeed, as advertised, two of Beethoven’s best early works. Despite their stylistic debt to Haydn and Mozart, they still have moments of surprise—in both the sudden harmonic changes and the pacing—that tells you it’s Beethoven, and these hold your interest. It also doesn’t hurt that Trio Italiano d’Archi plays these works as if they absolutely love every note and phrase. As good as the DG recordings were, these just sound, well, more “loving.” Their enthusiasm and good cheer comes through in every note and phrase. If they were a string quartet, I’d beg them to record all the Haydn quartets. They’re that good.

There are so many moments in these works where you hear the mature Beethoven, at least the mature Beethoven of the early symphonies and sonatas which came much later than these works. A prime example is the sixth and last movement of the Trio, which sounds exactly like it could have come from the period of the Second Symphony, or the first movement of the Serenade where he moves with lightning speed from major to minor and back again. It’s not that Haydn wouldn’t have thought of such a thing, but he would have prepared your ears a bit better, and his development would not have been as strong and compelling. And then there’s the almost celestial beauty of the “Adagio.” Haydn would have charmed you, but that’s about it. Beethoven transports you, and then changes things around halfway through, putting you in an entirely different musical space. Only Beethoven could pull off this sort of thing.

This is a wonderful CD in both performance and sound reproduction.

—© 2019 Lynn René Bayley


Lynn Renè Bayley

L'ARENA - 23.01.19

Trio Italiano d’Archi, lezione di stile Ottima esecuzione di Boccherini

La stagione degli Amici della Musica è ripresa con il Trio Italiano d’Archi, formazione che vede Alessandro Milani al violino, Luca Ranieri alla viola e Pierpaolo Toso al violoncello....
.....nella seconda parte il Divertimento KV 563 in Mi bemolle maggiore di Mozart.... ....si è trattato di una lezione di stile da parte della formazione, che ha nella leggerezza e precisione degli enunciati, e nel cantabile dei tre strumenti il punto di forza.
Da sottolineare l’ottima esecuzione anche di Boccherini in un brano poco noto che esalta le capacità di scrittura del musicista lucchese.
E su Mozart che dire? Un’interpretazione magistrale: soprattutto vogliamo ricordare la variazione conclusiva, dopo quella in minore, che è un vero gioiello di scrittura contrappuntistica.
L’esecuzione è stata talmente precisa che si sarebbe potuto scriverne le note sotto dettatura, senza nulla togliere all’immenso pensiero musicale che la sottende ed è stato veicolato con grazia e singolare eleganza. Successo convinto e replica di Boccherini.

Chiara Zocca

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