BEETHOVEN Triple Concerto. Archduke Trio
Those who might not count the Triple Concerto among Beethoven’s finest works could well be swayed by this intelligently balanced, beautifully played performance. This is not an aggressively ‘historically aware’ interpretation but the violin and cello soloists do use gut strings and the pianist plays on a fortepiano of 1815, by no means particularly anachronistic for a work composed in 1803.
The striking feature, first of all, is the power, incisiveness and sense of purpose that de Vriend inspires in the orchestra: from the opening whispers on the lower strings, he builds a strong, rhythmically astute and mellifluously phrased introduction, using minimal vibrato as an expressive tool rather than out of evangelical duty. When the soloists enter, their mellowness of timbre is ideally matched by and pitted against the orchestral sonority; the blend and contrast are finely judged, the soloists establishing a close-knit, animated ensemble in terms of sound and interpretative intent. Lyricism and dynamism are held in judicious equipoise, the former making a particular mark in the reflective slow movement, and both qualities coming into their own in the delightfully poised and vivacious polonaise of the finale, buoyantly accented by de Vriend. Left to their own devices in the Archduke Trio, the Storioni are equally impressive, stylistically deep inside the music and conveying both its muscle and its inspired allure.