Claremont Trio

Beethoven: Triple Concerto

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New York's Claremont Trio was formed around the turn of the century at the Juilliard School and has become one of the more successful young chamber groups in the U.S. Featuring new pianist Andrea Lam, this is their first recording for Bridge, which makes the most of their good looks in the graphics but did not lavish equal care on the un-proofread and amateurishly typeset booklet notes. Fortunately, the performances are quite strong. Beethoven's Triple Concerto in C major, Op. 56, has never been one of his more beloved works. Put famed violin, cello, and piano virtuosi as the soloists, and the result is likely to be an ungainly performance in which the pianist especially, hamstrung by a simple part written for Beethoven's patron the Archduke Rudolph, comes off as uncomfortable. The approach here, with a tightly integrated trio leading the interpretation, is preferable, even if there are places you can tell that the odd trio-plus-orchestra configuration is unfamiliar to both the soloists and the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra under Martin West. Cellist Julia Bruskin shines in the entrances of the solo group, which often put the cellist front and center, and the brisk finale accentuates the movements Polish rhythms in a way that most other performances don't. Even stronger is the Piano Trio in E flat major, Op. 1/1, the work Beethoven first chose to present to the world in published form. The work gathers energy as it goes along in the Claremont's quick tempos, and once again the finale is an exceptionally vigorous performance. The traditional American chamber scene is not large, but it proves to be still vital in this performance.

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