Arensky: Piano Trios
Label: BRILLIANT CLASSICS
The chamber music of Anton Arensky (1861-1906) embodies a happy and inspired synthesis of two contrasting sound-worlds: the peculiarly Russian language of Rimsky-Korsakov and the ‘Mighty Handful’, and that of Western-European accents exemplified in the sphere of chamber music by Brahms, but filtered through Tchaikovsky’s West-leaning approach. It’s Mendelssohn who comes to mind in the vernal surge of energy that opens the First Piano Trio which is Arensky’s best-known work beyond his piano music. The sombre third-movement elegy is a tribute to the cellist Davidoff, and accordingly opens with a soulful cello melody, before an impassioned finale banishes all introspection. Composed over a decade later in 1905, the Second Trio replaces such youthful energy for a more concise and refined harmonic idiom that even brings to mind Gabriel Fauré at points such as the polished, elusive second-movement Romance. After a delightfully capricious Scherzo full of subtle rhythmic shifts and conversational hesitations, the Second Trio concludes with an expansive set of variations on a noble theme in Tchaikovskian vein. Formed in 2016, the Carducci Trio has already won praise for its accomplished performances of Russian music in particular, having recently made a tour of China and given London performances at the Royal Albert Hall (Elgar Room) and Academy of St Martin in the Fields. This is the Trio’s debut recording.