Music that speaks of trauma is eloquently brought to life

Trio con Brio Copenhagen: The Passenger

The Strad Issue: April 2024

Description: Music that speaks of trauma is eloquently brought to life

Musicians: Trio con Brio Copenhagen

Works: Schubert: Piano Trio no.2 in E flat major. Weinberg: Piano Trio in A minor

Catalogue number: ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100282

 A hue of melancholy drifts across both Schubert’s E flat major Trio, written a year before his death, and the Weinberg, composed in 1945 immediately following World War II. Given the latter’s traumatic experience of having fled Nazi-occupied Poland, the sense of loss and a certain numbness are paramount elements in this work. But in addition, a steely-grey anger infuses the first movement. The finely honed Trio con Brio evokes a brutal edge to its energised and inflamed playing, ferociously aggressive in the Toccata, with the unpredictable piano low notes savagely punctuating the invention – a sensation enhanced by a slightly metallic recorded sound. Weinberg’s style has a linear structure, and this element, in both the first movement and the third-movement Poem with its extended piano cadenza, could perhaps be more sculpted, (as found in Gidon Kremer’s fine recording on DG).

Schubert’s Trio no.2 encompasses both the elements of the searching wanderer and moments of hope and optimism. The Trio con Brio’s Scherzo is full of vitality and the final Allegro has a lovely elegance; but the tempo adopted for the Andante is on the swift side and misses the trudging sense of despair achieved by some other performances.