Daniel Barenboim / Jacqueline du Pré / Pinchas Zukerman

Beethoven: Violin Sonatas Nos. 7-10; Tchaikovsky: Piano Trio

(CD - EMI Music Distribution #73650)

Review by

Re-releases of historical performances are frequently guilty of one crime in particular: although they do a service to listeners by restoring performances of legendary musicians, they deny them any information whatsoever in the liner notes explaining the historical significance or, in the case of du Pré, Barenboim, and Zukerman, the rather significant relationships between them.

Zukerman's Beethoven sonatas can be quite appealing. His sound is quite lean and focused. In a concerto setting, the same sound may become strident, but it works especially well in contrast with Beethoven's rather lush and powerful piano writing. The balance and byplay between Zukerman and Barenboim is invigorating, and the sensitivity that both of these musicians display in slow movements is poignant. Zukerman has occasional intonation problems, though, especially with chords and double-stops; this issue is not present in his 1992 recording of the complete cycle with pianist Marc Neikrug. The Tchaikovsky Trio was recorded in Tel Aviv by unknown producers and unknown sound engineers. The result suffers considerably as a result. The Trio's sound is quite thin and unsatisfying. Du Pré's playing, so often characterized by power and stoutness here sounds weak -- definitely not a representative sample of this ensemble's true abilities.

blue highlight denotes track pick