Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, Leonidas Kavakos performing Brahms Piano Trio No. 2 in C Major – Movement III.

Leonidas Kavakos, Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax: Brahms, the Piano Trios by Tim Homfray

The Strad Issue: January 2018
Description: Gloriously warm and eloquent Brahms from a trio of masters
Musicians: Leonidas Kavakos (violin), Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Emanuel Ax (piano)
Works: BRAHMS Piano Trios: no.1 in B major op.8, no.2 in C major op.87, no.3 in C minor, op.101
Catalogue Number: SONY CLASSICAL 88985407292 (2 CDs)

These trios run in order of composition, so the heavily revised version of the first trio appears last. The C major second trio is warm-blooded, sultry, with even (whisper it) a touch of the Mediterranean. The first movement varies between a one-in-the-bar and a three-in-the-bar feel, sometimes swaggering along with an easy rubato, at others probing and introspective. There is muscularity where needed, but also a wonderful lightness of touch, as in the pianissimo interplay of the scherzo. This is, in essence, happy, in the finest traditions of C major.

There is something elegiac and profoundly lyrical about the opening movement of the third trio, for all its C minor seriousness, with the tone clean and full. Surely Marlene Dietrich could have sung the creamy E flat melody, and further in, the musicians seem close to the atmosphere of a Viennese coffee house. The Presto is an exhibition of superior legato playing, and the string duets in the Andante grazioso are simply gorgeous.

In the first movement of the B major Trio no.1, the players combine vigour with a willingness to linger and smell the roses. At the outset Yo-Yo Ma draws the listener in with exquisite playing in the opening melody, and later they change down a gear to savour the lead into C sharp major. In the scherzo, following the light-footed Allegro molto, the meno allegro central section is rich, flowing and beautifully phrased. After the hushed mysteries of the Adagio, the finale has a splendidly muscular finish. The recorded sound is well balanced and warm.

TIM HOMFRAY

  • Show Comments (0)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Books. Fiction. Film. Music. Non-Fiction. Literature

African Literature

You May Also Like

The Modernist

  “Catalan art world hero Xavier Corbero invites director Albert Moya into his labyrinthine, ...

Cinema

Moonlight 2016 Director: Barry Jenkins Film Synopsis: A young man deals with his dysfunctional ...

NOWNESS: Photographers in Focus: Dennis Morris

Legendary Photographer Dennis Morris on Bob Marley, Johnny Rotten, and Getting Shot Gavin Haynes ...

Happiness: A Novel by Aminatta Forna

“Not since Remains of the Day has an author so skillfully revealed the way ...

Phantom Africa by Michel Leiris (Author), Brent Hayes Edwards (Translator)

Phantom Africa by Michel Leiris (Author), Brent Hayes Edwards (Translator) One of the towering ...