The three musicians of the Absolut Trio have been building a repertory around “rare finds and forgotten pieces,” and the three works they perform on this Musiques Suisses CD are absolutely in line with this objective. Coming from the early and mid-twentieth century, each of the three piano trios here has a claim to roots that lie in late and post Romanticism, but to significantly different degrees and effects. Adventurous listeners on the lookout for fresh and interesting chamber music may want to consider this release of piano trios by Volkmar Andreae, Sándor Veress and Raffaele d’Alessndro.
Practically three times the duration of the other two pieces, the main work on the program is the Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 14 composed in 1908 by Volkmar Andreae. Andreae’s trio is traditionally structured and developed, although somewhat rhapsodic in form. It is in his harmonies where the composer’s embrace of modern trends can be heard most clearly. His melodic lines are expansive and beautifully played by Absolut Trio; cellist Judith Gerster deserves special mention for her beautiful tone and phrasing.
Sándor Veress (1907-1992) was a Swiss composer of Hungarian ancestry. In his Three paintings for piano trio (1963), we hear music that is clearly post Bartók and Kodály; from a listener’s standpoint, it is easily the most challenging work on the program. Veress develops concise thematic cells employing close harmonies and irregular rhythms. The music is free flowing in both melodic and harmonic terms, and seldom is there a tonal anchor or cadence. Yet it is lyrical in its own way. I warmed considerably to the music over several hearings.
Following the Veress trio, the opening of Raffaele d’Alessandro’s Six Miniatures for Piano Trio plants us clearly in a third sound world. The work comes from 1936, and it lies between the proceeding two pieces in terms of how modern it is expressively just as much as it does in chronological terms. A student in Paris of Marcel Dupré, Paul Roës and Nadia Boulanger, you can often hear strong French influences in the music. The piece received its premiere performance as recently as 2013, given by Absolut Trio.
In all, this is a program of absorbing music in stylish, thoughtful and expert performances. If you would be interested in exploring Volkmar Andreae’s music further, a Guild CD of his orchestral music was recommended on Expedition Audio previously, in August of 2013.
The Absolut Trio likes to stay off the beaten track, away from the mainstream of the music industry, bringing to life music that has for the most varied reasons been sidelined. The three works presented here, by Volkmar Andreae, Sandor Veress and Raffaele d’Allessandro, can serve to demonstrate just what treasures can be discovered in the process.
Andreae (5 July 1879 – 18 June 1962) was a Swiss conductor and composer. In 1902 he took over the leadership of the Mixed Choir of Zurich (Gemischten Chores Zürich), where he remained until 1949, also leading the Stadtsängerverein Winterthur from 1902 to 1914 and the Männerchores Zürich from 1904 to 1914. From 1906 to 1949 he led the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich and from 1914 to 1939 the Conservatory of Zurich. Later he worked as freelance composer in Vienna and worked internationally as a conductor (especially with the works of Anton Bruckner). He composed opera, symphony and chamber music, piano, violin, and oboe concertos, piano music, as well as choir music and songs.
Veress (1 February 1907 – 4 March 1992) was an Award Winning Swiss composer of Hungarian origin.Veress studied and later taught at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest. He wrote numerous chamber music pieces and symphonic works. He wrote one opera, Hangjegyek lázadása.
D’Allessandro (March 17, 1911 – March 17, 1959) was a Swiss composer, pianist, organist and music critic
Raffaele d’Alessandro is one of the most fascinating characters arising from 20th century Swiss music. His style is unmistakable, uniting lyrical tenderness and melancholy with intense dramatic art.
Three experienced and enthusiastic chamber musicians came together in
2003 to form the Absolut Trio.
Since 2009 the ensemble has consisted of Bettina Boller violin,
Judith Gerster cello and Stefka Perifanova piano.