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Peter I. Tchaikovsky
Trio in A minor for Violin,
Piano and Cello, Op. 50
Alexander Stark, violin; Bella Steinbouk, piano; Nata Belkin, cello

SACD No.: Mirrored Nature Records MIR 501 (hybrid disc)

Review By Wayne Donnelly
Click here to e-mail reviewer

  This review is lamentably tardy. I received this disc back in 2005, as I was about to embark on first a move from California to Chicago, and subsequently another move into my present — hopefully, permanent — digs. With the attendant disruption and disorganization, I just lost track of this fine release. But excellent music has an indefinite shelf life, and I am no less eager than before to sing the praises of this SACD.

The Trio was dedicated to the great Russian pianist Nicolai Rubenstein, and was completed in 1882, the year following his death. Its structure is unconventional. Rather than the typical three-movement fast-slow-fast sequence typical of this genre, it is in two parts: a somber, elegiac opening movement, followed by a lengthy theme-and-variations, with a closing recapitulation and coda that tie the themes together.

The three musicians heard here were all Soviet-trained, but now living in the West. They are, on the evidence of this performance, highly accomplished players and sensitive interpreters. I can imagine a different sort of performance of this work, more overtly virtuosic and showy. But I am drawn to the intimate, quietly persuasive approach here; I think it will wear very well over time.

The recorded sound is of a piece with the interpretation — a very credible representation of the three musicians in a warmly intimate acoustic. It's not a "Hi-Fi Spectacular," but it serves Tchaikovsky well. The slogan for Mirrored Nature Records is "Music Made Not Manufactured." Right on! I'd like to hear more from these folks. Highly recommended.







































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