Rachmaninov: Trios élégiaques – No 1 in G minor; No 2 in D minor; Kreisler: Preghiera

Reviewed on Fri 10 Feb, 2017

Gidon Kremer and Giedré Dirvanauskaité are of a like mind, both of them acutely responsive to the expressive potential of sound for its own sake, as you’ll hear at the eerie start of the 12-minute G minor Trio.

Three recordings of Rachmaninov’s sizeable D minor Trio have caught my attention in the last few weeks: the vintage Oistrakh Trio (DG) with pianist Lev Oborin, a true Horowitz sound-alike; a 2016 ‘live’ performance from young musicians at the Music at Menlo Festival, heartfelt and forthright; and now this DG production from the previous year, which is on an altogether more exalted level, principally because of Daniil Trifonov, whose multi-perspectival piano playing – flexible, imaginative and visited by a thousand or more different grades of dynamic inflection – provides nourishing food for musical thought. Gidon Kremer and Giedré Dirvanauskaité are of a like mind, both of them acutely responsive to the expressive potential of sound for its own sake, as you’ll hear at the eerie start of the 12-minute G minor Trio. Most important is that such rich interpretative ingredients underline the sheer quality of the D minor’s musical material. In the wrong hands it can sound like 50-minutes’ worth of rhetorical gesturing, but never here. The Rachmaninov/Kreisler ‘cover’ piece, based on the second movement of the Second Piano Concerto, makes for an interesting if hardly compelling opener.
–Rob Cowan