SHOSTAKOVICH: Piano Trios No. 1 in C minor Op. 8, and No. 2 in E minor Op. 67; Sonata for Cello and Piano in D minor Op. 40 – Rachmaninov Trio Moscow – Tudor multichannel SACD 7138, 65:12 **** [Distr. by Naxos]:
The first Trio here, as well as the Cello Sonata, are early Shostakovich works which are more in the romantic tradition of Tchaikovsky than the composer’s later more avantgarde pieces. In fact the Op. 8 Trio is the earliest surviving chamber music by Shostakovich. He wrote and submitted it to the Moscow Conservatory at age 17 in an effort to enroll in the composition class there. Only 11 minutes long, it is in a single movement, with an energetic Allegro and a very Tchaikovsky-influenced lyrical Andante movement.
The second Trio was written much later, during WW II, when the composer was evacuated from Moscow to a working retreat for composers in the east. It is full of personal anguish at friends who died in the war, as well as having Jewish themes in the last movement which reflect his compassion of the fate of Eastern European Jews in the Holocaust. In general it leaves behind the Tchaikovskian melos of the earlier works for a hard-edged and often dissonant style. While neither trio comes close to my personal favorite Shostakovich chamber work, the Op. 57 Quintet, they reflect interesting stages in the composer’s life and are given superb performances by the trio of Russian artists. The multichannel option delivers a rich and full sonic picture of the three performers.
– John Sunier