Korngold: Piano Trio, Zemlinsky: Piano Trio - Stefan Zweig Trio
Ars Produktion ARS 38 264
Classical - Chamber
Korngold: Piano Trio, Op. 1
Zemlinsky: Piano Trio, Op. 3
Stefan Zweig Trio
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Review by Adrian Quanjer - October 26, 2018
I suppose that many collectors of chamber music are, like me, consistently on the look-out for material they are not familiar with but is nonetheless of a high standard. Well then, this is your chance. These two scarcely recorded trios, and only one of them (Zemlinski) in high definition, played by outstanding ‘chambristes’, have their roots in Brahmsian style of composing, whilst reaching out to Richard Strauss, bridge the gap between the old and the new at the turn of the previous century. It may furthermore be of interest to note that Korngold has been a pupil of Zemlinsky’s, which may clarify their compositional resemblance. And last but not least, both give clear evidence of rich musical talent.
I must admit that the Stefan Zweig Trio is new to me. Reading the credentials of its members in the accompanying booklet whetted my appetite. I sat down and listened with much anticipation. I was not disappointed. All three members, educated at major music colleges (the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna and the Paris Conservatoire), contribute in equal measure to the overall result. In fact and in spite of being of different nationalities they succeed wondrously well in bringing their diverse classical worlds together in a common, amalgamated approach to these early piano trios.
Some time ago I positively reviewed Zemlinsky’s trio Op. 3 released by Gramola: Zemlinsky / Goldmark / Gal: Piano Trios - Irnberger / Cernitori / Sinaiski. Comparing the Irnberger/Cernitory/Sinaisky Trio with the Stefan Zweig Trio led me to the conclusion that where the former are perhaps a shade more passionate, Konstantinova cs. score better in conveying its youthful character. As for Korngold’s piano trio (not to be mixed-up with his Trio Op. 33) for which I have no comparison, I had no choice but to accept Stefan Zweig’s reading at face value. In the face of Op. 33, Korngold’s first attempt - written at the age of 12 - does not lack maturity and structural ingenuity. And as suggested before, The Stefan Zweig Trio play both trios with honesty and wit, without trying to dramatize or seeking deeper meanings where there are none.
I wondered about the choice of name. Why take the name of one of Austrian’s greatest writers? The French cellist, Tristan Cornut, says the following on his web site: “Through the Trio’s choice of name, the three musicians sought to underline their affinity for the longstanding musical tradition of Vienna and the vivid emotional oeuvre of Stefan Zweig”. To which I may add that Zweig was an ardent melomane and collector of musical, often autographed manuscripts.
Altogether a fine disc with expert readings of two mostly unknown works recorded at the usual perfectionist standard by Manfred Schumacher & Martin Rust.
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