Trio con Brio Copenhagen

Trio con Brio Copenhagen

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Trio con Brio Copenhagen Review

by Mike D. Brownell

On this album of piano trios by Ravel, Dvorák, and Bloch, the Trio con Brio Copenhagen shows off many of the skills and attributes that likely contributed to it winning the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson International Piano Trio Award. The sisters Hong, responsible for the string parts, each possess an amazingly dark and sultry sound in the lowers registers of their instruments. Their technique is crisp and articulate. Pianist Jens Elvekjaar is likewise a gifted musician who produces an exceptional range of colors on his instrument. What is sometimes surprisingly lacking in the ensemble is intonation. This difficulty is most evident in the Ravel when the strings are required to play together in octaves or in extended trill passages in the fourth movement, where the top notes of the trills sound perpetually flat.

Intonation is a less-evident problem in the Dvorák. Here, the trio provides a wonderful dichotomy between the fluid, melodic sections and the aggressive rhythmic sections so necessary for the successful performance of any "Dumky" work. Among the ensemble's strengths is its sensitivity to pacing, making the transitions between the contrasting sections quite enjoyable. The Bloch Three Nocturnes is likely the least-familiar work on the program and is also the most engaging. The dark and mysterious introduction started off by the piano is at once captivating, and the work plays to the strengths of the strings in their lower registers.

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