Trio Carducci

Arensky: Piano Trios

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The chamber music of Russian composer Anton Arensky has been little played outside of Slavic countries, and Italy is likewise not much known for its chamber music ensembles. Thus Arensky is a bold choice for a young, rising Italian chamber group: this release does not hit any obvious buttons in the marketing department. As it happens, it's terrific. The potted description of Arensky is that his music is derivative of Tchaikovsky's, but if it's done right, as it is here, the differences emerge as more prominent than the similarities. Consider the ebullient Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 32, where the themes are Tchaikovskian but their development has a variety of different effects. Sample its second-movement scherzo and note how the Trio Carducci do well both technically and interpretively with their tricky overtone passages. The Piano Trio No. 2 in F minor, Op. 73, is a later and very rarely played work, written shortly before the composer's death. It lies somewhere between Fauré and Tchaikovsky, with a higher degree of chromaticism than the latter, and it's moody and lovely. The budget price of this Brilliant-label release from the Netherlands is an attraction, although you don't get the engineering you might from a top-line label. Highly recommended.

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