More magnificent byways brought to life by an adventurous trio

Neave Trio: A Room of Her Own

The Strad Issue: April 2024

Description: More magnificent byways brought to life by an adventurous trio

Musicians: Neave Trio

Works: Smyth: Trio in D minor. Boulanger: D’un matin de printemps; D’un soir triste. Chaminade: Trio no.1. Tailleferre: Trio

Catalogue number: CHANDOS CHAN20238

All of these works deserve a place in the repertoire in their own right, the gender of their composers irrelevant, save for the fact that they all – in different ways – faced difficult receptions of their output. Smyth’s Trio, for example, was only aired in public for the first time in 1985, more than a century after it was written. Yet it’s a major discovery demonstrating incredible fluency and memorable melodic invention, albeit owing much to Brahms.

Naturally the case for all four composers is strengthened by these illustrious performances: the Neave Trio delivers perceptively characterised interpretations that are by turns individual and blended, supported by a pleasingly warm recording.

Germaine Tailleferre began her Trio when she was 24, but only completed the work 60 years later in 1978. Miraculously, she interweaves her later thoughts with the earlier ideas to create a thoroughly convincing work teeming with delicately coloured, piquant Fauré-esque harmonies, qualities that are exquisitely projected in this performance. Chaminade’s Trio is full of subtle shades of timbral colour, elegant and nuanced phrasing adding to its beauty. There is more astringency to Lili Boulanger’s music and fervent readings brings alive its compellingly intense darker resonances, with D’un soir triste perhaps the highlight of the disc.