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Donald R Vroon
American Record Guide, May 2009

It’s very Slavic and strikes us as a good buy



Richard A. Kaplan
Fanfare, May 2007

"This new recording offers the complete 1907 score; all the competitive versions I listened to, most notably those of the Borodin Trio on Chandos and the Moscow Rachmaninoff Trio on Hyperion, take the 1917 cuts, or most of them. All three versions are excellently played, although I find the Moscow group much too fast at the opening; likewise, the return of the opening theme at the end of the third movement again sounds rushed in their reading, undermining the rhetorical effect of the recurrence."

"Moreover, of the three recordings, the new Naxos version is the most attractively played and recorded; the sound is warm yet immediate and lifelike, with excellent balances, and the many passages for the cello's A-string—almost the entire part is notated in tenor clef—are particularly lovely. (Cellist Yablonsky is, incidentally, the son of well-known pianist Oxana Yablonskaya.)...This new Naxos disc rises straight to the top of the list."




Anthony Clarke
Limelight Magazine, April 2007

There’s no attempt here to present trio performances in which piano, violin and cello are given equal parts—Rachmaninov, one of the greatest pianists of his generation—consciously stresses the dominance of the piano. These early works are both romantic, dramatic and intensely melancholic. They show Rachmaninov as a proficient and individual composer, free of the self-doubt which stifled his development later in his career.

Naxos has chosen interpreters who have given us thoughtful but emotional readings of these youthful works; this is a choice offering.



Terry Barfoot
MusicWeb International, March 2007

There’s no attempt here to present trio performances in which piano, violin and cello are given equal parts—Rachmaninov, one of the greatest pianists of his generation—consciously stresses the dominance of the piano. These early works are both romantic, dramatic and intensely melancholic. They show Rachmaninov as a proficient and individual composer, free of the self-doubt which stifled his development later in his career.

Naxos has chosen interpreters who have given us thoughtful but emotional readings of these youthful works; this is a choice offering.




Terry Barfoot
MusicWeb International, March 2007

Igor Stravinsky memorably described Rachmaninov as ‘six-foot-six of Russian gloom’, and that description fits admirably, and at the same time magnificently, with this music. It arose out of Rachmaninov’s admiration for Tchaikovsky. For Tchaikovsky’s only Piano Trio, his Op. 50, had been dedicated ‘to the memory of a great artist’: Nikolai Rubinstein. Rachmaninov gave his Trio élégiaque of 1893 the same dedication; now the ‘great artist’ was Tchaikovsky himself. The young Rachmaninov was already making his mark on Russian musical life, as both prodigious pianist and talented composer. The dedication of the Trio is a reflection of the strong impression he had made on Tchaikovsky, the composer of the previous generation whom Rachmaninov most admired.

The Trio is arguably the finest achievement of Rachmaninov’s earlier career: the period before his breakdown following the disastrous premiere of the First Symphony. It was preceded by another piece of the same name and for the same instrumental combination; but in every way, in both scale and conception, the earlier work is a pale imitation of the later.

Naxos couple these two trios in a sensible combination that gives commercial value as well as artistic integrity. The performers seem ideal, and so too the recorded sound from that favourite venue for Naxos: Potton Hall in Suffolk. The Trio No. 1 is a work of sensitive emotion and admirable intellectual command, but the music lacks the vision and with it the truly epic commitment of the Op. 9 Trio of 1893. The latter is still an early work, and it is true that Rachmaninov returned to it fourteen years later to revise it in the light of a more sophisticated technique. Be that as it may, there is a complete integrity of design and an associated command of structure, and its every bar conveys an eloquent immediacy of emotion.

Of course the performers need bring their own vision to chamber music that is built on such an ambitious scale. This Russian trio of Grohovski, Wulfson and Yablonski combine to achieve eloquence of line and intensity of expression, a performance that is founded upon techniques of the utmost assurance. Their interpretation is captured in an acoustic whose warmth serves the music well. Make no mistake; this is one of the most successful recordings of chamber music one could wish to encounter, and to have it available at budget price is a cause for celebration.




Bradley Bambarger
Newark Star-Ledger, January 2007

Those sold on Rachmaninoff's emotive "Trio Elégiaque" No. 2 from NJSO performances during the Russian festival's first weekend might seek out the intensely nuanced recordings by the Beaux Arts Trio (Philips) and, more recently, Alexander Kniazev/Dmitri Makhtin/Boris Berezovsky (Warner). Or one could go for this new, bargain-priced option, featuring Russian-trained musicians who often record for Naxos (including frequent conductor Dmitry Yablonsky on cello). Along with the 45-minute "Trio Elégiaque" No. 2 -- the young Rachmaninoff's grand memorial homage to Tchaikovsky -- this disc features the "Trio Elégiaque" No. 1. Although not nearly as ambitious (or as mournful) as the later work, the first trio mines a similarly rich seam of melody. These performances aren't as expressive as the aforementioned options, but the playing is expert, the recording clean and the price right, at less than $9.






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5:08:32 PM, 20 December 2014
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