Monument Piano Trio

Brahms, Shostakovich & Schoenfield

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For their debut album, the Monument Piano Trio has selected two firmly established classics -- the Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 87, by Johannes Brahms, and the Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 67, of Dmitry Shostakovich -- and followed them with Paul Schoenfield's Café Music, a jaunty, postmodernist trio that superimposes Tin Pan Alley on the time-honored genre. The trio of three experienced musicians -- violinist Igor Yuzefovich, cellist Dariusz Skrowaczewski, and pianist Michael Sheppard -- formed the group in 2004 out of friendship and a shared love for chamber music. The results of their playing are engaging and involving, and even though the group doesn't have the smoothest blend or play with the cleanest articulation, the close communication between the players carries the performances. The energy and spontaneity that are needed to make a piano trio album fun are fully in evidence here, and even though the Monument Trio is at times rough around the edges, that scrappiness is likely a selling point for the ensemble in concert. Analog Arts offers close-up sound that gives equal coverage to the three instruments.

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