Piano Trios (2012)

Saint-Saens, Loevendie, Ravel

Van Baerle trio

“We are always somewhat cerebral, but within that framework we are frequently able to reach perfection” stated Maurice Ravel about French artists in an interview with a Madrid newspaper in 1924. Such a characterisation was true not only for Ravel but also for his colleague Camille Saint-Saëns, who had continued to stress the importance of musical form throughout his long career and as a result had fallen from critical favour. Ravel, however, admired Saint-Saëns; they were artistically related in that Ravel’s own composition teacher was Gabriel Fauré, who had himself been a pupil and protégé of Saint-Saëns. This first CD from the Van Baerle Trio enables the listener to make a comparison between these two great French composers, with an important supporting role being allotted to the Dutch composer Theo Loevendie, whose open-mindedness and ability to absorb multiple musical influences is always a guarantee of a stimulating musical experience for the listener.

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Van Baerle trio

The Van Baerle Trio has had a rich history in the few years of its existence. We started playing together almost by accident – when we met for our first rehearsal we hardly knew each other! In my first year at the Amsterdam Conservatory, I had to form a chamber music ensemble. Since the repertoire attracted me very much, I started looking for partners for a piano trio, to be coached by Dmitri Ferschtman, cellist and professor at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. He suggested asking Gideon den Herder, who in his turn suggested Hannes Minnaar (he knew him from theory lessons). The first time we met was in autumn 2004, when we planned our first rehearsal with the Beethoven Trio op.1 no.3.
Rehearsals were not easy in the beginning – I spoke only English and Hannes would often switch to Dutch, so Gideon would have to translate. Also musically, we came from different backgrounds: I was raised in a ‘Russian school’ tradition and had very little experience with chamber music; Gideon was always veryinterested in performance practice and had more experience in chamber music and ensemble playing; Hannes didn’t come from a musical family and was therefore curious about everything and interested in all sorts of music (from Sweelinck to Percy Grainger) — he always knew pieces which we never heard about!

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Piano Trios (2012)

Saint-Saens, Loevendie, Ravel

Van Baerle trio

    Gramophone

"Ravel, it seems, made a careful study of the piano trios of Saint-Saëns before embarking on his own in 1914. There was no question of any similarity of idiom; what Ravel wanted to know was how best to balance the instruments, notably the violin and the cello. That link gives point to this coupling. The two string instruments are beautifully matched in both works, carolling above the firm foundation of the piano. What is striking about Minnaar’s brilliant playing is the clarity even in the most elaborate textures. In the Saint-Saëns that gives a delightful lift to the performances of all the fast movements. The pizzicato pay-off to the third movement’s presto Scherzo in a galloping 6/8 is a delight, as are many other moments. The players of the Van Baerle Trio play The Ackermusik with a rare intensity. Clear, transparent sound with the closeness of the piano not too distracting."

Edward Greenfield[read full review]

Piano Trios (2012)

Saint-Saens, Loevendie, Ravel

Van Baerle trio

Digital Converters: dCS DSD a/D
Mixing Board: Rens Heijnis custom made
Producer: Tom Peeters
Recording Engineer: Tom Peeters, Rico Yntema
Recording location: Philipshall, Eindhoven Holland
Recording Software: Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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KTC1438: Piano Trios
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Tracks.
1.
Piano Trio no. 1 in F major (1863) Allegro vivace
Saint-Saens
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2.
Piano Trio no. 1 in F major (1863) Andante
Saint-Saens
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3.
Piano Trio no. 1 in F major (1863) Scherzo: Presto
Saint-Saens
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4.
Piano Trio no. 1 in F major (1863) Allegro
Saint-Saens
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5.
Ackermusik (1997) Ackermusik
Loevendie
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6.
Piano Trio (1914) Modéré
Ravel
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7.
Piano Trio (1914) Pantoum: Assez vif
Ravel
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8.
Piano Trio (1914) Passacaille: Très large
Ravel
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9.
Piano Trio (1914) Final: Anim?
Ravel
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