The Namirovsky-Lark-Pae Trio Plays Bridge & Brahms

Trio CD cover

MASTERPIECES AMONG PEERS / BRIDGE: Piano Trio No. 2. BRAHMS: Piano Trio No. 1 / Namirovsky-Lark-Pae Trio: Misha Namirovsky, pno; Tessa Lark, vln; Deborah Pae, cel / TyxArt TXA18104

The Namirovsky-Lark-Pae Trio is a young group formed in 2012. Their repertoire spans not only conventional classical works but also Bluegrass, Middle Eastern and East Asian music. On this release they have paired Frank Bridge’s Piano Trio No. 2, the lesser-known of his trios, and Brahms’ Piano Trio No. 1, his more famous and oft-recorded.

The Bridge Trio is a real gem, opening with soft violin playing before moving into atmospheric, almost Eastern-sounding modes with light piano arpeggios behind the strings. When the piano increases in volume and begins playing meatier music, the two strings move into rhapsodic, modal lines that cut across bar lines. I really liked this trio’s intensity in this music, and particularly Deborah Pae’s rich, luscious cello tone. It’s a very atmospheric composition but also one with real meat on its bones. Not having previously heard it, however, I wondered if the trio’s echt-Romantic reading was wholly appropriate, since much of Bridge’s music calls for a more direct and less sentimental approach. I did, however, very much like their light-footed approach to the soft but lively second-movement “Molto allegro,” and they really rip through the final “Allegro ma non troppo.”

I was pleasantly surprised by their gutsy, powerful performance of the Brahms Trio. This is a rendition that can actually stand comparison with some of the legendary recordings of the past, such as those by Heifetz, Feuermann and Rubinstein and Szigeti, Fournier and Schnabel. They have the full measure of this long and oft-complex work firmly in hand, and because of this they throw themselves into the music with abandon. I think Brahms would have liked their rendition of it.

Hey, sometimes my reviews are short even when I like the music and the performers, and this is one of them. This trio is good, the performances have a great sound, style and guts, and the acoustics are perfect. Go for it!

—© 2020 Lynn René Bayley

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