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Rachmaninov : Musique de chambre. Trio 258.
Diapason from May 2023
Review de André Lischke
Page No. 86
4 de Classica
Classica from July 2023
Review de Jérémie Cahen
Page No. 87
Format : 1 CD
Total Time : 00:57:15

Recording : 04-05/08/2022
Location : Hilversum
Country : Pays-Bas
Sound : Studio / Stereo

Label : Challenge Classics
Catalog No. : CC72920
EAN : 0608917292022
Price Code : DM019A

Publishing Year : 2023
Release Date : 01/03/2023

Genre : Classical
Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Trio élégiaque n° 2, op. 9 (édition révisée, 1907)
Prélude, op. 32 n° 10 "Le Retour"

Trio 258
Leonard Besseling, violoncelle
Lestari Scholtes, piano
Eduardo Paredes Crespo, violon

Tout comme Tchaikovski avait écrit en 1882 son unique trio « à la mémoire d’un grand artiste » (Nikolaï Rubinstein), Rachmaninov fit de même pour Tchaikovski douze ans plus tard en composant son second Trio élégiaque opus 9. Dans cette œuvre majeure de la musique de chambre, Rachmaninov exprime déjà à vingt ans et de façon prémonitoire toute la nostalgie affligée que recèlera sa musique. L’écriture large et fusionnelle entre les trois instruments donne un sentiment à la fois d’espace et de nostalgie fréquent dans la musique russe. Le jeune Trio 258 offre une magnifique version à la fois passionnée et pudique de cette œuvre, bien éloignée de l’optique « hollywoodienne » dans laquelle on cantonne parfois la musique de Rachmaninov. Les instruments fusionnent ici de façon idéale dans des sonorités à la fois puissantes et chaleureuses où l’intime le dispute au spectaculaire. Le Trio ajoute « en bis » une belle transcription du très élégiaque Prélude opus 32 n° 10. La prise de son aérée est naturelle, ronde et précise. Le seul petit regret est que le minutage peu généreux du CD aurait largement permis d’ajouter le premier Trio. (Jean-Noël Regnier)

Sergei Rachmaninov’s music is loved by many, being heard regularly on concert stages throughout the world. That said, his Second Piano Trio is virtually unknown, as it is seldom taken on by musicians. His trio is passionate – the weight and sincerity of his deep feelings form the basis of the work. He dedicated the work to his good friend and mentor Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, who had died that year. The sadness, melancholy and love imbuing this work are genuine and timeless, touching our hearts as audience or performers. All three of us grew up, quite independently of each other and for a number of reasons, with recordings by the great masters from the first half of the 20th century: Rachmaninov of course, but also Vladimir Horowitz, Jascha Heifetz, Pablo Casals, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Yehudi Menuhin and Gregor Piatigorsky to mention just a few. This goes in part to explain why we made friends with each other and became professional colleagues. We were smitten by the "old" way of performing and all of us wanted to learn from that style. Our journey has helped us – through recordings, literature, conversations and lessons from some special musicians – to an appreciation of how music was read and interpreted so entirely differently a hundred years ago to what we normally hear nowadays. The ultimate model for a "living" sound at that time was the human voice. To match this, we had to adopt a much more flexible approach to aspects such as tempo, rhythm and voicing, emulating how this was done in the Romantic era. Some listeners might not even notice where this happens, though some of these interpretative choices might strike others as odd or a little extreme. Our quest for a sound that approximated the human voice led us to the use of gut strings, again inspired by our idols from the first half of last century. Gut strings have a wide range of tonal colours and offer great opportunities for articulation, inviting musicians to adopt an investigative approach. The return Sergei Rachmaninov once said to his close friend, the pianist Benno Moiseiwitsch: "You understand my Prelude in B minor. If you had to sum up the work in a single word, what would it be?", to which Moiseiwitsch replied "But my dear Sergei, I cannot describe it in one word. The piece is a journey! It's about a return…". "Stop!", shouted Rachmaninov. "Exactly that – 'Return' – that's what my prelude is about". Return is an important theme for us on this CD. Not just because Rachmaninov's Second Trio starts with a beautiful, melancholy theme that returns in all its majesty after more than 50 minutes of the most stirring music, but also because this recording and the music represent for us our own return to the world after two years of musical isolation during the pandemic period. The timing is symbolic: 2023 sees the 150th anniversary of Rachmaninov's birth. And it is partly thanks to this master composer that we have been able to remain motivated over the past two years, exploring and discovering, for which we owe him a huge debt of thanks. This is one of the reasons why we had the Prelude in B minor arranged for piano trio, as a fitting close to our CD.

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