Conservatory of Music

photo of Paul Ostrovsky

Paul Ostrovsky


In Russia, Mr. Ostrovsky made several albums for Melodiya Records, and he has recorded chamber music for the Vox and Deutsche Grammophon labels. His Deutsche Grammophon recording of Mendelssohn Sonatas for Violin and Piano with Shlomo Mintz met with exceptional critical acclaim and won the Grammophon award for chamber music in 1988. Mr. Ostrovsky has also embarked, with the Moscow Conservatory Trio, on a four-CD series of recordings of “Great Piano Trios” on the CMH label.

Tchaikovsky; Rachmaninov
The Moscow Conservatory Trio. CMH Records 8020.
Rating: 9

Tchaikovsky: Piano Trio in A minor, Op. 50
Rachmaninov: Piano Trio No. 1 in G minor.
The Moscow Conservatory Trio (Paul Ostrovsky, piano; Dmitri Berlinsky, violin, Suren Bagratuni, cello).

“Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio is a treacherous work.
     Not only is it technically challenging for all three performers, but its sprawling structure and pervasive lyricai tone can easily lead to interpretations that sound diffuse and dull. fo compensate, many performers invest an excess of passionate intensity which simply makes the work sound overheated.
     The Moscow Conservatory Trio is one of the few ensembles that seem to understand what this piece is about. They bring out the work’s melancholy lyricism, letting the music’s ebb and flow evolve naturally, without a lot of unnecessary pushing or pulling. Which is not to say that the performance is stiff, because their phrasing is amazingly supple and they obviously relish the work’s variety of character and color. While this may not be as highly-charged as some other versions, I find it far more satisfying. It’s certainly the most compelling and lovable account of this elusive work I’ve encountered on disc.
     It’s not difficult to imagine the young Rachmaninov’s G minor Trio being mistaken as the work of Tchaikovsky. In fact, Rachmaninov wrote this work in 1893 as a memorial to the elder composer. Arid although Rachmaninov’s own musical voice is not yet fully developed in this single-movement Trio, it’s a gorgeous piece, full of sadness and longing. Again, the Moscow Conservatory Trio’s performance is superb - dark, atmospheric and perfectly judged.
     This ensemble also has a fine recording of music by Beethoven (his Trio in C minor, Op, 1, No.3) and Brahms (his Trio in B Major, Op. 8) on the same label. I recommend both discs highly, but the Tchaikovsky/Rachmaninov album is really something special."

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