Performances to sit alongside the finest in this enterprising programme

Trio Zimbalist: Auerbach, Dvořák, Weinberg


The Strad Issue: May 2024

Description: Performances to sit alongside the finest in this enterprising programme

Musicians: Trio Zimbalist

Works: Auerbach: Piano Trio no.1. Dvořák: Piano Trio no.4 ‘Dumky’. Weinberg: Piano Trio

Catalogue number: CURTIS STUDIOS PLAT21970

I applaud the wide range of sound, colour and dynamics that the Trio Zimbalist brings to its clearly recorded and highly charged performances. The programme is imaginative and illustrates a palpable connection with Bachian part-writing in the Prelude to Lera Auerbach’s impressive First Trio and the Prelude and Aria from the Weinberg Trio. Auerbach’s work dates from 1991, after she had left the Soviet Union, and the second-movement Andante lamentoso has some dark moments which possibly reflect the toll of living under an oppressive regime. The musicians deliver an eloquent and sensitive performance here and in the Presto finale their sharply etched virtuosity comes to the fore.

The first-rate quality of Weinberg’s Trio of 1945 is finally being recognised: this performance ranks with the finest currently available. The Trio Zimbalist evokes the dark shadows of war with a tangible rawness manifested, for example, in the piano’s ferociously articulated low gunfire notes in the Toccata. But there is room for more reflective and lyrical emotion too, especially in the third movement.

The performance of the ‘Dumky’ Trio displays an instinctive feeling for Dvořák’s folk-inflected language. A sparing use of vibrato creates some leaner textures than in some other recordings, allowing the musicians to coax a wide spectrum of moods and colours from the music.