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Thread: Beethoven Piano Trios - Borodin Trio

  1. #16
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    Yesterday, I listened to the Storioni Trio play the first two movements of the Ghost Trio. I'd say this is the least of the performances I've heard so far. If the Swiss Piano Trio "over-dramatised" the "Ghost", the Storioni does so times 2. They resort to heavy agogic accents, overemphases, and the occasional pounding on the piano keys in the first movement (which I dislike). The slow movement doesn't fare much better, as the same thing happens, but on a more reduced scale, and they're a tad brisker than is normal, which gives the movement a slightly rushed feel, at times (on the other trio in the coupling, they strangely slow down in the first movement). Such unrestrained playing might work for Tchaikovsky's Piano Trio (or maybe Brahms)--that is, if we excuse away their approach as due to 'late Romantic' intensity and passion, but it doesn't work for the Beethoven, not in my view.

    Evidently, the Storioni Trio comes from the Evgeny Kissin school of Beethoven interpretation: who likewise automatically (& rather mindlessly) pounds the piano keys when he wants to show "emotion" in the score--thereby reducing long mercurial passages to a single dimension, & severely generalizing what is being expressed. As I listener, I pull back, rather than am drawn forward.

    In my view, Beethoven cared deeply about the delicacy and sensitivity of his piano touch and sound--while he still had his hearing. That is evident from the varied and subtle range of his early to middle piano sonatas, particularly when they are played on a less resonant and unwieldy period piano. So I can't imagine that he liked ugly, loud, intemperate playing. Therefore, I don't think he would have enjoyed the Storoni's overemphasized, outsized "late Romantic" playing any more than I have. Though granted, it may mirror how he played the piano in his later years: that is, after he'd lost most of his hearing, & was forced to pound on the keys relentlessly in order to simply hear the notes. As Schindler wrote, Beethoven's piano playing sounded magical if you were standing outside the house on the other side of the street. --Note that the source of my criticism isn't as blatant on this listening clip--as the YT sound is more subdued than on the actual hybrid SACD. But if you turn the volume up, you'll get a better idea about what bothered me in regards to this performance. (Although in the 3rd movement, the Storoni Trio becomes surprisingly more restrained & classical, which shows them at their best in Beethoven.)

    Then I listened to the Vienna Piano Trio on MDG (another hybrid SACD), who have a mostly new line up since their fine Nimbus Beethoven recordings (only pianist Stefan Mendl remains the same). To be brief, I don't think the new Vienna Trio's line up is quite as good as the old one, at least not at the time this recording was made. So I wouldn't recommend this recording either, though it is better than the Storioni's.

    This is a much preferable Beethoven disc, IMO, from the earlier line up of the Vienna Piano Trio:
    Last edited by Josquin13; Yesterday at 20:41.

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