SVIRIDOV Piano Trio / Piano Quintet
Beethoven Trio Bonn et al
CAvi-Music 8553375 / *****
Georgy Sviridov (1915-1998) was a very well-regarded Soviet era composer, best known for his vocal and choral music, particularly the choral concerto Pushkin's Garland and song-cycle Russia Cast Adrift.
In this album of his chamber music, first listen to the final track, a piano trio arrangement of the Romance from the 1964 movie The Snowstorm which he scored. This “hit” melody oozes Slavic melancholy and Russian nostalgia, with sobbing gestures from the strings that is hard to mistake.
Then listen to the Piano Trio in A minor and Piano Quintet in B minor, both composed in 1945. Most apparent is the influence of Sviridov's teacher Dmitri Shostakovich. Acerbic wit and vitriol seem to drip from every page. The Trio is in the honoured tradition of Russian “trio elegiaques” (Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov being prime examples) and includes a passacaglia as its slow movement. The Quintet is an even grittier and grimmer work, imbued with an unrelieved gloom.
Russian violinist Mikhail Ovrutsky, cellist Grigory Alumyan and Korean pianist Jinsang Lee, who form the Beethoven Trio Bonn, give totally committed and vividly moving performances. They are joined by violinist Artur Chermonov and violist Vladimir Babeshko in the Quintet, which receives its world premiere recording.