Triptych - Beethoven, Brahms, Bolcom Piano Trios - Delphi Trio. © 2018 MSR Classics

CD Spotlight

Spiritual and Emotional Depth

Piano trios from the Delphi Trio
by Beethoven, Brahms and Bolcom,
recommended by GERALD FENECH

'An invigorating mixture of past and present, brilliantly executed and sumptuously recorded, which is truly worth investigating.'


This CD has more to do with the Delphi Trio and composer William Bolcom (born 1938) than the other two works by those Romantic giants Beethoven and Brahms.

The Piano Trio, Op 70 No 2 is one of Beethoven's best constructed chamber pieces. Cast in four movements, the piece is a tapestry woven from three simple notes whose descent and ascent seem to carry within them the rising and setting of the sun. Indeed, with its moments of joy and optimism, supplemented by a folk-like serenity and at times also a hint of restlessness, this trio has always been one of the composer's most likeable chamber pieces.

Listen — Beethoven: Allegro (Piano Trio in E flat, Op 70 No 2)
(track 4, 0:00-0:56) © 2018 Delphi Trio :

Brahms' Trio No 3 is at once terse and lyrical, grand and intimate - a balanced dialogue among equals, embodying Brahms' mastery of chamber music form and a work that gathers the cumulative force of an orchestra.

Listen — Brahms: Andante grazioso (Piano Trio No 3 in C minor, Op 101)
(track 10, 0:00-0:43) © 2018 Delphi Trio :

At this stage we are left with Bolcom's Piano Trio and the Delphi Trio - indeed one cannot live without the other. Why is this? It's somehow puzzling why one of America's greatest living composers turned to the standard piano trio at age seventy-six, after a host of other chamber works including some twelve string quartets, two piano quintets, two piano quartets and even some smaller pieces for the traditional instrumentation of piano, violin and cello. It all happened when Bolcom experienced the Delphi Trio's performing acumen, and was immediately taken in by their playing, opening the door to the commissioning process. Only later it was discovered that the composer's creative process was partly inspired by the Trio's ability to produce music of true spiritual and emotional depth.

Listen — William Bolcom: Energetic (Piano Trio)
(track 5, 0:00-1:00) © 2018 Delphi Trio :

This sixteen-minute piece is in the traditional three movements and there is no doubt that Brahms' shadow looms large over the work. With its identical tonality, frequent unison between violin and cello, concision of the outer movements and the serene expanse of the slow movement, it has always been linked with the great master's C minor Trio which closes this album.

Listen — William Bolcom: serene; molto sostenuto (Piano Trio)
(track 6, 5:58-6:58) © 2018 Delphi Trio :

An invigorating mixture of past and present, brilliantly executed and sumptuously recorded, which is truly worth investigating.

Copyright © 18 May 2019 Gerald Fenech,
Gzira, Malta



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