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Monday, September 17, 2012

Peteris Vasks, Dmitri Shostakovich, Boulanger Trio, Canto Perpetuo

The Boulanger (Piano) Trio show some fabulous interpretive abilities on their Canto Perpetuo (RBB Profil Edition Gunter Hanssler). The consistently interesting Peteris Vasks contributes his "Episode E Canto Perpetuo"; the program also includes Shostakovich's Trios Nos. 1 and 2.

It's weighty fare. Vasks' opus from 1985 has, as you might expect, a long and winding melodic quality, but also a bit more modernistic bite than some of his later works. It's a work that pays homage to Olivier Messiaen. It has moments of intense emotion, perhaps in reaction to momentous events in Russia at the time. As one might expect it also has a resonance with Messiaen's work--a widely tonal expression coupled with a kind of tender spirituality.

The first Shostakovich Trio is a little gem of his early period (op. 6), with a brashness and a contrasting tenderness that fits well as a transition from the Vasks to the later Shostakovich.

The second Shostakovich (op. 67) has a patently Shostakovichian, breathtaking motor pulsation in the allegro movement that's played with relish and fire by the trio. The first movement is more quiescent and mysterious; the third movement majestic and lyrically expressionist. The final movement has that melodic, dancing grotesquery quality that Prokofiev and Shostakovich mastered so well.

In the hands of the Boulanger Trio the works are given full, detailed, hard-edged and lyrical readings as called for. The trio seem ideal proponents of the music and breathe sonic life into the music throughout. The sound is quite good. Taking the music, performance and recording quality together as a package, we have a real winner. Bravo!

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