Magazine article The New Yorker

THREE ON A MATCH; Classical Notes

Magazine article The New Yorker

THREE ON A MATCH; Classical Notes

Article excerpt

The string trio--violin, viola, and cello--was the Marlon Brando of the Classical era: it coulda been a contender. But Joseph Haydn's invention of the string quartet proved to be an irresistible force; composers rapidly exploited the expanded tonal radiance and richness of texture that the addition of a second violin could provide.

Still, a cluster of new recordings prove the genre's durability. Since Beethoven's String Trio in C Minor is one of only ten established masterworks in the form, it's hardly surprising that it is featured on a new recording, "Debut" (on Yarlung Records), by the Janaki String Trio, a striking young group from the spanking-new Conservatory of Music at Los Angeles's Colburn School. What is surprising is the fresh and bracing character of the performance, appropriate for an album that also features superb renditions of contemporary trios by Krzysztof Penderecki and the young Los Angeles composer Jason Barabba.

Bach wrote his immortal Goldberg Variations for solo keyboard, not string trio. But Dmitry Sitkovetsky's arrangement, heard on a Deutsche Grammophon disk, unpacks the work's intricate network of counterpoint, an exercise at once informative and luxurious. …

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