Classical Music: This week's releases

Rob Cowan
Monday 07 February 2005 01:02
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THE IDEA of "trick" recording goes back to the days of 78s when Elisabeth Schumann sang in duet with herself and Heifetz played both parts of Bach's "Double" Concerto. Latest to appear along parallel lines is a recording of Bach's Concerto for three keyboards in D minor (Warner 2564 61950-2 oooo9), where one of the pianist-sisters Guher and Suher Pekinel provides an "over-dub" of the third piano part. You'd never guess from the evidence - and like the concertos for two keyboards in C minor and C major, the performance is light on its feet. I'm not sure about the excessive decorations in the slow movement of the first C minor work (a two-piano version of the popular Double Violin Concerto), but the Triple is the ultimate in cool Bach - very Glenn Gould - while the Zurcher Kammerorchester under Howard Griffiths fits the mood and style to perfection.

In marked contrast with the Pekinels' breezy Bach, Bartk's three piano concertos (Deutsche Grammophon 477 5330 oooo9), issued as part of DG's Boulez 2005 series, features three very different soloists and three equally individual orchestras. A technically dazzling Krystian Zimerman tackles the harshly provocative First Concerto; Boulez opting for relative sobriety while Zimerman verges on the edge of playfulness. In the hyperactive Second Concerto, Leif Ove Andsnes (with the Berlin Philharmonic) is better balanced by far, his performance unstoppably athletic, the percussive finale like a last-ditch punch-up between sweaty heavyweights. Best of all, though, is Helene Grimaud with the LSO in the milder-mannered Third Concerto, a generously expressive account, superbly accompanied and recorded.

Two discs of piano trios are of interest, the first coupling Rachmaninov's Trio elegiaque in D minor (Warner 2564 61937-2 oooo9) together with Shostakovich's great E minor Trio. In the Rachmaninov, Boris Berezovsky's piano commands a Horowitzian dynamic range, especially in the first movement.

A more wistful piano trio by the 19th-century Irish pianist George Alexander Osborne was admired by Berlioz and is included on A Shower of Pearls (RT Lyric fm CD103 oooo9). Osborne's Trio easily stands its ground alongside various other forgotten treats being unearthed as part of the Romantic Revival.

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