This recording, taken from two live performances in Japan, is unusual, but breathtaking. And contrary to what one reviewer on the review page said, this is not the first time the 3 have played together. It was the year before this present recording was made, in '97 in Verbier, that they played for the first time.
The Shostakovich is a very graphic interpretation, vividly portraying the anger and the pain behind the music. The three performers are very strong personalities and naturally there will be doubt as to how successful their collaboration will be in chamber music. While still maintaining their individual temperaments, the performance as a whole is a keenly united one. The interplay, the communication between the three players is impressive. Some have commented at the lack of techinical accuracy. Maybe that is so, but I sometimes think that some of these 'inaccuracies' are deliberate, to strengthen the music's drama. The Tchaikovsky is also another great Russian piano trio. It was written after the death of a beloved colleague, Nikolai Rubinstein. Incidentally, both trios on this disc were written after both composers lost dear friends. For Shostakovich, it was written in memory of Ivan Sollertinsky. And this disc is dedicated to the memory of Argerich and kremer's manager. So it is quite a deadly affair, this disc!
The Tchaikovsky is a long work - 40 minutes at least. Here it is
nearly 48 minutes! But the playing here is so impassioned and keenly felt that the impression is that it isn't that long at all. A very lyrical, yet powerfully articulated performance like this is rare. All the players are on top form for the Tchaikovsky, and from Argerich there is the strongest support you could imagine for a piano trio. The encore is a very witty 'medley' of Tchaikovsky's works (ranging from the Pathetique symphony, violin concerto, quotes from Eugene Onegin, to the Rococo Variations). Very humorous.
The sound is very vivid, and the booklet contains informative notes by David Brown, and entertaining observations by Argerich's second daughter, Annie, who describes what happened before the performances took place.