Trio Marvin Performs Weinberg & Shostakovich

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WEINBERG: Piano Trio in A min. SHOSTAKOVICH: Piano Trio No. 2 in E min. / Trio Marvin / Genuin GEN 19678

Following on the heels of Trio Khnopff’s new recording of Weinberg’s Piano Trio, we have this new one by Trio Marvin, a group founded in Leipzig in 2016. Trio Khnopff filled out the rest of their CD with other works by Weinberg, while this one fills out the disc with the Shostakovich Trio No. 2.

Had I not heard Trio Khnopff’s rendition first, I would probably be very enthusiastic about this release. Trio Marvin plays with a good sense of the legato line and energy when the score demands it, but in a side-by-side comparison Trio Khnopff comes out ahead. The slow first movement just has an extra ounce of sadness in Trio Khnopff’s performance, and in the explosive second movement Trio Marvin seems just a shade less explosive. I realize that this is a fine line to draw between the two performances, but I have to be honest about my reactions.

Which is not to say that Trio Marvin’s performance is at all bad. If the Trio Khnopff recording did not exist, I would give it very high marks. I was especially impressed by pianist Vita Kan, who plays with a great deal of feeling, particularly in the long piano introduction to the third movement (“Poem; Moderato”). In this section of the trio, both performances are on an equal footing, and indeed here violinist Marina Grauman and cellist Marius Urba dig deeper into the music than they did in the first two movements; but the overall impact of Trio Khnopff’s reading is just that much more intense and personally felt, in my view.

Yet Trio Marvin does an excellent job on the Shostakovich trio, particularly in the first movement where they draw out a fine filigree of tone, giving it very expressive playing. In each and every movement, I felt as if Trio Marvin was touching a raw nerve, literally wrenching emotion out of the music without overdoing it or being hysterical. There was not a single moment in this performance, save perhaps in the opening of the “Allegretto,” where I felt that any of it could be bettered, and for this reason I recommend this CD.

—© 2019 Lynn René Bayley

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