This very fine recording of chamber music by Shostakovich spans careers, not only that of the composer, but also that of 79-year-old pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy, who played the Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67, for Shostakovich at his home as a young man, but hasn't recorded it until now. There are other strong recordings of this tragic wartime work, which merges the personal and the external in a way that only Shostakovich and Beethoven could do, but sample the heavy, monumental treatment of the slow movement Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67, and you'll find it's Ashkenazy through and through. The program includes the rarely heard Piano Trio No. 1 in C minor, Op. 8, a hotshot bit of formally ingenious, student, late Romanticism that the aging pianist catches perfectly, and the late Viola Sonata, Op. 147, a work that can collapse under its own weight, but that here is charismatic and transcendent. The other players, none of them Russian, adapt with a sure touch to piano-driven performances. A wonderful tribute from one great artist to another who inspired him, beautifully recorded.
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Review by James Manheim
|Piano Trio No.2, Op.67|
|Sonata for Viola and Piano, Op.147|