- Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67
- String Quartet No. 3 in E flat minor, Op. 30
Part of a series recorded at Germany's unlikely but acoustically superior Heimbach Hydroelectric Power Station, this program in turn combines an unlikely pair of works. Tchaikovsky's "String Quartet No. 3 in E flat minor, Op. 30," and Shostakovich's "Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67," are both Russian, it's true, and both have an elegiac mood that memorialized the life of an associate of the composer. But their emotional manner is entirely different, and it's hardly a surprise that the linked ensembles here deliver performances at different levels. The Shostakovich is something of a hall of mirrors in which the composer kept both world war and domestic repression at a distance in a series of four dark, allusive movements. Pianist Lars Vogt and sibling violin-cello duo Christian and Tanja Tetzlaff have the control to capture the many layers of this mysterious work, aided by superb live engineering. It's a haunting performance. The Tchaikovsky is not so successful. Sample the very restrained opening of the Andante funèbre slow movement (track 3) to test how you feel about the very precise performance here of music by a composer whose hallmark was emotional excess. This release can be unhesitatingly recommended, however for the extraordinary reading of the Shostakovich trio, and it makes a good place to start with the Heimbach Power Station series.