From the Miami International Piano Festival, 2003
Program: TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Trio in A Minor, Op 50; RACHMANINOV: Piano Trio in G Minor “Trio Elegiaque”
Performers: Igor Gruppman, violin/ Mark Kosower, cello/ Ilya Itin, piano/ Adam Neiman, piano (Rachmaninov)
Studio: VAI DVD 4396
Video: 16:9 Color
Audio: PCM Stereo
Length: 58 minutes
Taped at the Amaturo Theater, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 8 March 2003, this concert features four sympathetic artists in Romantic repertory of passionate temper. The camera work attempts to visualize the rapidly shifting, Herculean emotions of the Tchaikovsky, often superimposing all three players into one frame as Tchaikovsky piles up his motifs in stretto for the Pezzo Elegiaco. Most often, violinist Gruppman and cellist Kosower form the musical frame, then the camera cuts left of Itin’s keyboard virtuosity. Gruppman, a Heifetz pupil, phrases his music much as the Master had for his performance with Rubinstein and Piatagorsky two generations ago. Gruppman’s solo cadenza takes us to a melancholy recapitulation, the forward motion of the music almost static and detached in space. Then, the passion swell once more in dirge-like harmony with the cello and piano’s facile runs. Itin at fff is a force of nature, the music having become a funereal waltz and bolero in memory of Nicholas Rubinstein.
Rachmaninov composed his small, one-movement G Minor Trio in 1892. Its four-note melodic kernel has obvious ties to the Tchaikovsky Trio. The legato in each of the three parts, along with the one-movement structure, pay deep homage to Tchaikovsky in the younger composer’s own terms. Gruppman again leads the emotional sequences, while the camera looks to Neiman’s left hand. Some jerky camera movements break the lyrical mood of the music, but the instrumentalists’ rendering is so smooth, the minor visual lapse is swept away. The sonority of the piece is grand, a concerto for three solo instruments until the piano ushers in a light figure that Grieg might have penned. Neiman’s cadenza, a brief nocturne, is nicely phrased, nicely framed. At the end of the extended, concluding dirge, an unseen audience applauds music well-realized.
— Gary Lemco