courtesy of Naxos of America
Once again my interest in the German Profil label has departed from my usual pursuit of archival recordings. This time the content is a single CD presenting the two string trios composed by Anton Arensky. The release of this album in the United States seems, once again, to have been impeded by Amazon.com ineptitude. However, the album is available from Presto Classical through a single Web page that supports both downloads and the purchase of the physical CD itself.
Mind you, Amazon.com provides a generous supply of albums of both of these piano trios. They have probably worked their way into standard repertoire over the past few decades, perhaps as a result of a kick-start from the Beaux Arts Trio. In my own concert experiences, I have encountered the first of these trios, Opus 32 in D minor, several times; but I have yet to attend a performance of Opus 73 in F minor.
This particular album, however, seems to have been produced under circumstances that border on the peculiar, if not crossing it. It appears to be the 23rd release in a series produced by the Hilfswerk Lions Club in Munich. Granted, my knowledge of the Lions Club is pretty meager; but this is the first time I have associated any Lions Club with chamber music. The recordings themselves were made in the studios of Bayerischer Rundfunk in 1992 between March 23 and March 26. The performances are by the Münchner Klaviertrio, whose members are violinist Adrian Lazar, cellist Gerhard Zank, and pianist Hermann Lechler.
Arensky tends to be regarded as a minor figure anywhere outside of Russia. His composition teacher was Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov; and, in later years, his pupils included Sergei Rachmaninoff and Alexander Scriabin. While he had a solid reputation, a proclivity for drinking and gambling ultimately took its toll. He died of tuberculosis at the age of 44.
Regardless of his lifestyle, both of his trios have much to offer the attentive listener. The same can be said for the interplay among the three performers on this recording. The recording itself thus stands out as providing an excellent way in which to become familiar with Arensky’s approach to composition.