Trio Dali Schubert CD reviewed in Gramophone

Schubert – Piano Trios – No 1, D898; No 2, D929. Arpeggione Sonata, D821. Fantasie, D934
Trio Dali – (Amandine Savary (pf) Vineta Sareika (vn) Christian-Pierre La Marca (vc)

Fuga Libera FUG584

I have to confess I hadn’t previously encountered the Trio Dali. My loss: this new set of Schubert’s piano trios is a real discovery from three young players with plenty to say and the most compelling manner of saying it.

Set alongside the Vienna Piano Trio’s somewhat staid account of the E flat (D929), this new one has a joyous sense of energy from the off. The recording is beautifully balanced, with the piano never unduly forward in the texture and a particular delight is the way the players meld Schubert’s countermelodies so sensitively. The way the Dali bring out the shy counterpoint at the reprise of the opening idea of the second movement (taken at an aptly flowing tempo here, à la Florestans and Capuçon/Braley trio) is just one instance among many. Their pacing is impressive too, not just here but in the B flat Trio (D898) as well: though there’s much engagement with the minutiae of the music, it’s never at the expense of a clear-headed view of the whole.

The B flat Trio is no less compelling, with plenty of air to the Scherzo – and almost as much visceral brilliance as Capuçon/Braley – and delicately nuanced string-playing that charms without ever losing purpose. Their perky rondo finale has a sense of playfulness sometimes missing from more traditional views of the work, the masterly Beaux Arts included.

The group’s name, incidentally, derives not from the surrealist painter Salvador Dalí but from Dali in south-west China, a city famed for its intricate marble carvings, the players being inspired by this thoughtful and unhurried creative process. It bodes well for their longevity.

We also get delicious performances of the Arpeggione Sonata and the C major Fantasie. If further persuasion were needed that this is a set that should live on your shelves, these provide it. I’m off to sample their previous Ravel disc now.

Harriet Smith

Trio Dali tours for Musica Viva in May-June 2012

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