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chamber music


Levkovich, Franck & Rachmaninoff

Three piano trios, youthful works of sustained lyricism, bring together Sergei Babayan, Kristof Baráti, Hans Helmerson, Mischa Maisky, Mihaela Martin and Daniil Trifonov.


First movement of Piano Trio
(Babayan, Martin, Helmerson)

CÉSAR FRANCK (1822-1890)
Piano Trio No. 1 in F-sharp minor Op. 1
(Babayan, Martin, Helmerson)


Trio élégiaque No. 2 in D minor Op. 9
(Trifonov, Baráti, Maisky)

The pianist Dmitri Levkovitch (born in 1980), a former student of Sergei Babayan, is also a composer. His Trio for piano and strings begins with a melancholic Andante of timeless lyricism. This is followed by the first of three Trios Concertants by César Franck. “I wish I could tell you everything I’ve found beautiful about it,” Mendelssohn wrote to the young composer after hearing it. In the languid key of F sharp minor, this Opus 1 by César Franck, composed at the age of 18, already adopts the cyclical form so characteristic of its author.

In response to this early work is another: Trio No. 2, Op. 9, the so-called “elegiac” Trio, which Rachmaninoff wrote in shock at the news of the death of Tchaïkovski, who had been his mentor and friend. The lamentation of the strings, punctuated by a stubborn motif in the left hand of the piano, immediately sets the elegiac mood of the work. The second movement is a vast theme and variations, the theme of which is borrowed from The Rock, an orchestral tone poem by Rachmaninoff that Tchaïkovski loved. A brief and densely textured Finale closes the work.