Get a 10% discount on your
next order!

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive a promotion code for 10% discount on a album of your choice!

The promotion code will be send to your e-mail address. The code is valid one time and valid for a month after receiving the promotioncode. Your e-mailaddress will only be used by Challenge Records International and will not be given to 3rd party advertisers. If you have any questions, please use go to our FAQ or contact us.

Gidon Kremer / Giedrè Dirvanauskaitè / Khatia Buniatishvili

Piano Trios

€ 19.95
Add to cart
  • Type CD
  • Label ECM
  • UPC 0028947641711
  • Catalog number ECM 4764171
  • Release date 29 April 11

About the album

It's a paradoxical situation: Mozart and Beethoven, Schubert and Mendelssohn, Schumann and Brahms all honoured the genre of the piano trio by writing works which should not rightly be called "piano trios". Rather than accepting the supremacy of the keyboard over the string instruments explicit in the very term 'piano trio', the composers instead wanted a three-way conversation among equals in which the highly contrasting instrumental timbres coalesced at a higher level. And they achieved that by liberating the cello from its ancient function as a continuo instrument and giving the violin the brilliance that had earned it pride of place among solo instruments ever since the 18th century, even in the concerto.             

Another member of this company of great composers who granted instrumental parity to the trio with piano, violin and cello was Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky in his only piece of chamber music for this combination of instruments: the Trio in A minor, op. 50. This scrupulous composer, who was never convinced of his compositional prowess despite having already achieved huge acclaim with quite different musical difficulties (symphonies, piano concertos, operas and ballets), hesitated for a long time before venturing onto this terrain. To the hyper-sensitive Tchaikovsky, the combination of piano and string instruments was, as he once put it in a letter to his lifelong benefactress Nadezhda von Meck, something unnatural, for each instrument had to sacrifice its distinctive charm.            

Nevertheless, Tchaikovsky convincingly surmounted this compositional problem. More than that, in his op. 50 he found a different way to resolve the paradox that composers from Mozart to Brahms had ferreted out and overcome – namely, he gave his work an almost orchestral garb. The mastery he had gained in the symphony served him in good stead in his chamber music, where the orchestral richness of the piano is offset by the wealth of colours and dynamic extremes of the string instruments. To be sure, this sort of timbral emancipation comes off especially well when played by musicians of the stature of Gidon Kremer (violin), Giedrė Dirvanauskaitė (cello) and Khatia Buniatishvili (piano), who impressively employ all the exuberance and verve of their respective instruments while staying finely attuned to their fellow performers. Here they do this in a work that bursts the boundaries of its form, with the wistful first movement augmented by a huge set of variations split into two large sections.            

Such liberating and yet poised ensemble playing also redounds to the benefit of Zerkalo ('Mirror'), a trio composed by Victor Kissine in 2009 for the same combination of instruments. Kissine hails from St Petersburg and first came to notice with a scandalous operatic setting of Peter Weiss's play Marat-Sade before acquiring a reputation for chamber music. His trio, interpreted with consummate mastery by Kremer and his colleagues Dirvanauskaitė and Buniatishvili, is a sensitively balanced, almost intimate, yet technically demanding amalgam of the instruments' iridescent timbres – an amalgam which, however, can soar to dynamic escalations on a gigantic scale and is very close to the emotional universe of that Russian man of sorrows, Tchaikovsky. Kissine, a longstanding friend of Gidon Kremer, was inspired by two lines from Anna Akhmatova's Poem without a Hero, though the resultant piece of music does not depend on external programmes. It turned into one of his most tight-knit and timbrally resplendent creations, pressing forward into barely perceptible acoustical realms that demand precisely the quality these three musicians have in common: telepathic empathy.

And the Edison nominees are...

On Tuesday 21st of October Stichting Edison announced the Classical Edison nominations. We are delighted with the nominations for Challenge Classics.  In the catagory chamber music and the opera: - Goeyvaerts String Trio (Pärt, Moody – Stabat Matar, Simeron)- CC 72616 - De Nationale Opera o.l.v. Marc Albrecht (Trojahn – Orest) - CC ...

Read more
14th of December: award ceremony of Buma Boy Edgarprijs winner Jeroen van Vliet

On Sunday the 14th of December 2014 pianist and composer Jeroen van Vliet will receive the Buma Boy Edgarprijs 2014, the most important award for jazz and improvised music. Besides receiving the award, which consists of € 12.500 and a sculpture by Jan Wolkers, he composed a special program with performances ...

Read more

Add a comment

We need to make sure that you are really an human, please enter the code below.