Beethoven: Triple Concerto; Brahms: Double Concerto

Trio Poseidon / Neeme Järvi / Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra

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Beethoven: Triple Concerto; Brahms: Double Concerto Review

by James Leonard

There's good news and bad news with this recording. The good news is that the Trio Poseidon has delivered fresh and affecting performances of Beethoven's Triple Concerto and Brahms' Double Concerto that stand among the finest ever recorded. With a tight ensemble, buoyant tempos, and unabashed joy, the Swedish piano trio has caught the spirit of Beethoven's unique concerto, as well as fulfilling its technical demands. With searing lyricism, unrelenting intensity, and fervent interpretation, violinist Sara Trobäck Hesselink and cellist Claes Gunnarsson turn in a performance of Brahms' equally unique concerto that makes it sound as compelling as the most passionate vocal duet. The bad news is that the Trio Poseidon could, in a metaphorical sense, sue conductor Neeme Järvi for desertion. With the Gothenburg Symphony at his command, Järvi leads a performance so bland, blank, and faceless that it makes one wonder if he was there at all. When one compares Järvi's conducting here with the Triple Concerto Herbert von Karajan recorded with David Oistrakh, Mstislav Rostropovich, and Sviatoslav Richter, or George Szell's Double Concerto with the same violinist and cellist, one is left with the unhappy conclusion that the Trio Poseidon was left waiting at the altar. Chandos' digital sound is rich, ripe, and thankfully focused on the soloists.

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