Piano Trios by Clara Schumann, Rebecca Clarke & Alba Rosa Vietor - Storioni Trio
Ars Produktion ARS 38 162
Classical - Chamber
Clara Schumann: Piano Trio in G minor
Rebecca Clarke: Piano Trio (1921)
Alba Rosa Viëtor: Piano Trio in A minor (1951); Canzonetta (1939)
Review by Adrian Quanjer - September 14, 2016
Bart van de Roer, Wouter Vossen and his brother Marc, playing together under the name “Storioni Trio”, were catapulted into fame soon after their establishment in 1995. Their hi-resolution recordings harvested many accolades, including Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with 'The Netherlands Symphony Orchestra' under Jan Willem de Vriend. This present disk somehow escaped reviewers’ attention. Unjustified, I’d say. Apart from excellent musical team work we have here a prime example of emancipation: Three female composers who deserve to be more widely known.
For a start, Clara Schumann, who lived for too long in the shadow of her husband, Robert. Understandable, in her time. Women were not supposed to show much other creative activity than embroidery & knitting. Widening the scope to Fanny Mendelssohn - who, unfortunately, is not represented here with her piano trio in D minor, Op. 11 - one wonders what both women could have contributed more than they did because of this taboo. This may have robbed us from many interesting and worthwhile romantic compositions.
The liner notes suggest that Clara’s music was largely influenced by Mendelssohn and her husband, Robert Schumann. I’m not so sure. Of course, mutual influence in a certain time frame exists, but I find the quality of Clara Schumann’s oeuvre such that it may have been the other way around as well. Listen to this trio and you know why.
The perfection the Storioni Trio gives to this work is beyond question. Interplay of the highest level. But that is partly also the weakness in that perfection is not always the best way forward. Some of the romantic impulse strays away. I’d personally prefer the rendition of the less famous ‘Boulanger Trio’. Maybe not as good, but so captivatingly romantic. It could be that the three women of this trio sense better the intrinsic value of Clara’s feelings.
I’m more impressed by the Storioni’s rendition of Rebecca Clarke’s Piano Trio. We are in a different period and perfection comes much better to its full advantage. It is modern and yet lyrical, or, as the liner notes have it: an amalgamation of Debussy, Ravel and Bartók. She, too, lived under male domination and of all she ever composed, little came to the surface. The Rebecca Clarke Society will surely appreciate the effort by these Dutch to bring her trio to a wider audience.
Rebecca's Trio requires musicians who are able to play as equal partners, and this is exactly what the Storioni’s are good at. The different parts melt into one precious sound scape enveloping the listener with a pleasant and rewarding discovery.
Her contemporary sister composer Alba Rosa Viëtor, of Italian-Dutch origin, took her creative work, like Rebecca, to the United States of America. We owe it to her son, Hendrik Viëtor, that some of it was saved from oblivion. Her one movement Piano Trio is played and recorded here as World Premiere and as such a valuable addition to the catalogue. It is followed by a short ‘Canzonetta’ with undeniable female romantic charm.
This disk is, also taking into account the sublime recording by ARS-Produktion, an absolute safe buy for Storioni fans and a most rewarding discovery for others.
Copyright © 2016 Adrian Quanjer and HRAudio.net