Brahms: Double Concerto in A minor, Op 102; Piano Trio No 1 in B major, Op 8 (1854 version); Schumann: Violin Concerto in D minor, WoO 23 (coda by Britten)

Reviewed on Mon 24 Oct, 2016

Leaving aside the not always consistent volume levels of the soloists, the drawback here is the absence of a podium presence able to comprehend and communicate the many facets of a masterpiece.

Since the orchestras of Karlshrue and Meiningen, with whom Brahms also worked, had a string complement of 30 each he probably would not have objected to the ASMF’s 23 in the Double Concerto. Leaving aside the not always consistent volume levels of the soloists, the drawback here is the absence of a podium presence able to comprehend and communicate the many facets of a masterpiece. This performance, though technically consummate, offers little insights; not so in the versions from Claudio Abbado (DG) and Bernard Haitink (LSO Live). They also illuminate the difference between conducting and directing. In contrast, an affecting view of the Schumann makes some amends, while commitment extends even further in Brahms’s Op 8 Piano Trio, an interpretation eloquent in its passionately felt involvement; indeed it’s the pièce de résistance of the disc. As with the rest of the programme, though, instrumental vibrancy is attenuated by compressed harmonics.
–Nalen Anthoni