Works for Piano Trio
It is good to see a commercial firm sponsoring a recording by gifted young musicians. The Barbican Piano Trio were formed three years ago at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and in the same year won a South East Arts award. The performances on this disc are fresh, very musical and technically brilliant, with excellent recorded sound to show them to their best advantage. The choice of works, too, is admirable, and the notes in the booklet are provided by Rebecca Holt and Robert Max. Altogether a highly commendable enterprise.
The playing in Mendelssohn's D minor Trio is outstandingly warm and spontaneous. Some performances tend to patronize Mendelssohn, but this one takes him at face value as the vital link in Romantic music between Beethoven and Schubert and Schumann and Brahms, and in the slow movement in particular the phrasing and the rapport between the instrumentalists are a joy to hear. Ireland's early (1906) Trio, a Cobbett prize-winner, is an attractive short work, but the big attraction of this disc is Alan Bush's Three concert Studies of 1947. Each movement was written as a test of some aspect of performance (intonation, balance, rhythm), but the result is really a full-scale piano trio—and these young musicians revel in its richness. The continued neglect of Bush's music is nothing about which Britain should feel proud. What relevance have the political views of a man who can write music as good as this?'