Shostakovich: Piano Trios Nos. 1 & 2; Seven Romances

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
Although Dmitri Shostakovich's String Quartets claim the lion's share of attention among his chamber music, his works for string instruments with piano -- consisting of a few sonatas and a piano quintet, besides the two piano trios featured on this recording -- are cut from the same intimately expressive cloth. Combined with the haunting Romances on Verses by Alexander Blok, which also requires a piano trio to accompany its soprano soloist, these pieces are a fruitful match for the new incarnation of the Beaux Arts Trio -- founding pianist Menahem Pressler joined by violinist Daniel Hope and cellist Antonio Meneses. An earlier Beaux Arts lineup recorded the Shostakovich...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
Although Dmitri Shostakovich's String Quartets claim the lion's share of attention among his chamber music, his works for string instruments with piano -- consisting of a few sonatas and a piano quintet, besides the two piano trios featured on this recording -- are cut from the same intimately expressive cloth. Combined with the haunting Romances on Verses by Alexander Blok, which also requires a piano trio to accompany its soprano soloist, these pieces are a fruitful match for the new incarnation of the Beaux Arts Trio -- founding pianist Menahem Pressler joined by violinist Daniel Hope and cellist Antonio Meneses. An earlier Beaux Arts lineup recorded the Shostakovich Second Trio, but Hope's credentials in modernist music are especially suited to bringing out the angular and sometimes grotesque elements that come forward in this work, composed in the midst of the Second World War. The ensemble's Romantic tendencies, however, have an ingratiating outlet in the First Trio. Clearly the music of a composer just on the verge of discovering his voice -- Shostakovich was a 17-year-old student when he wrote it in 1923 -- this early work offers glimpses of the composer to come, with brittle cello tunes that hint at the full-fledged sarcasm of his later music. It doesn't reach the depths of the Second Trio -- what a difference two decades can make, especially in Stalin's USSR -- but it's a compelling portrait of the composer as a young man. Best of all, however, are the Romances, somber products of Shostakovich's later years, featuring British soprano Joan Rodgers in a deeply moving performance. This song cycle is still one of Shostakovich's lesser-known masterpieces, but the austere beauty that Rodgers and the Beaux Arts Trio bring to this recording may change that once and for all.
All Music Guide - James Leonard
When the Beaux Arts Trio started life in 1955 in New York, its original members were Daniel Guilet, concertmaster of the NBC Symphony; Bernard Greenhouse, principal cello of the Columbia Symphony; and Menahem Pressler, an international piano virtuoso. When Guilet retired in 1969, the group added violinist Isidore Cohen from the Juilliard Quartet. This group's recordings of essentially the entire standard repertoire for piano trio made for Philips in the '70s and '80s established the Beaux Arts Trio with its full-bodied, big-hearted sound as the world's preeminent piano trio. The departures of Greenhouse in 1987 and Cohen in 1992 and the arrival of violinist Ida Kavafian and cellist Peter Wiley added a sharper, edgier tone to the group, but they left in 1998 and the group's edge went with them. This incarnation of the Beaux Arts Trio has only one thing in common with its early incarnations: founding pianist Pressler. But joined by English violinist Daniel Hope and Brazilian cellist Antonio Meneses, Pressler is the foundation of what is in fact a wholly new group. It's hard to imagine what a Cohen/Greenhouse/Pressler recording of Shostakovich's two piano trios would sound like and harder to imagine that a Kavafian/Wiley/Pressler recording would sound anything like this Hope/Meneses/Pressler recording. The Beaux Arts Trio's sound is much more than big-hearted -- it's intensely expressive -- and far less than sharp-edged -- it's lushly lyrical. In Shostakovich's "First Trio," the new group's singing tone makes the work sound less early modernist than late romantic, while in his "Second Trio," the group's expressivity makes the work seem less Socialist Realist than fin de siécle. With clear-toned English soprano Joanne Rogers, the new group turns in a powerfully moving -- and stylistically authentic -- performance of Shostakovich's late song cycle of "Seven Romances on Verses by Alexander Blok."
Gramophone - David Fanning
[Daniel] Hope certainly makes a striking contribution to this new disc and Antonio Meneses’s cello is also a quality act.
San Francisco Chronicle - Joshua Kosman
A brisk and appealingly abrasive disc, taking its energy not only from the repertoire but also from the disparate characters of the group's members.

[Daniel] Hope certainly makes a striking contribution to this new disc and Antonio Meneses’s cello is also a quality act.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/10/2006
  • Label: Warner Classics
  • UPC: 825646251421
  • Catalog Number: 62514
  • Sales rank: 170,613

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Trio for piano & strings No. 1 in C minor, Op. 8 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Beaux Arts Trio (13:37)
  2. 2–5 Trio for piano & strings No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 67 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Beaux Arts Trio (27:11)
  3. 6–12 Suite of Romances (7) for soprano & piano trio, Op. 127 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Beaux Arts Trio (25:14)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Beaux Arts Trio Primary Artist
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