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An ensemble on a mission

Gramophone, Richard Whitehouse

As an ensemble on a mission, the Linos Piano Trio are not so much stealing the repertoire of others as enhancing the medium with their own arrangements.

Of the three French pieces, the Debussy works a treat in that its inherent languor has ample room to emerge – textures kept light and pliant, with climactic junctures standing in greater relief.

It is a tribute to the sensitivity of Eduard Steuermann that his 1932 arrangement of Verklärte Nacht leaves so idiomatic an impression. Schoenberg extensively rethought its string sextet texture for string orchestra, and this version takes redistribution of parts that much further – violin and cello assuming concertante roles against piano-writing of undoubted richness and intricacy. This is most apparent during those impassioned earlier episodes, yet it is conveyed no less effectively in the resolution and fulfilment of what follows. On occasion the medium evokes classy salon music, but there is never any risk of overkill.

From Viennese fin de siècle to the aftermath of cultural collapse, Ravel’s ‘choreographic poem’ [La Valse] is unequivocal in intent…

… and this arrangement allies a consistency of pulse with an inexorable accumulation of energy that makes the apotheosis as incendiary as if realised by several times the number of players.

Hopefully the return to live performances will allow this enterprising outfit to give these arrangements the airings they so richly deserve.

The recording:
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