A Russian masterpiece inspires a performance high on emotion

Kirill Troussov: Tchaikovsky

The Strad Issue: February 2024

Description: A Russian masterpiece inspires a performance high on emotion

Musicians: Kirill Troussov (violin) Benedict Kloeckner (cello) Alexandra Troussova (piano)

Works: Tchaikovsky: Piano Trio in A minor

Catalogue number: ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100259

With no companion piece for Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio, this recording is less than generous in length, but it compensates with playing of sweeping grandeur. At its height the first movement has symphonic richness and tonal depth, which are balanced by gentle, touching pathos and moments of expressive, tragic reflection from the string players, with their fervent vibrato complemented by the close, reverberant recording. The ending is a sad, relentless trudge.

The theme of the second movement is given with a slight hiatus before each dotted minim, which gets a bit predictable, but as the musicians move through the variations they encompass a kaleidoscope of colour and character. Violinist Kirill Troussov produces nicely flibbertigibbet semiquavers over cellist Benedict Kloeckner’s melody in the second variation, and Slavic passion in the fourth, his bow biting into the string. Alexandra Troussova twinkles nicely in the fifth variation, sounding almost like a toy piano, before the players raise the musical temperature in the sixth-variation waltz, with Kloeckner urbane in the opening melody and both strings in light, capricious dialogue before their muscular reminiscence of the theme.

There is robust playing in the fugal eighth variation, with crisp staccatos and heightened accents. The tenth variation mazurka dances as it should, and the eleventh dies away to nothing, before the grand final variation and coda, full of sound and fury.