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Twenty-year-old Sergei Rachmaninov was shocked to hear of the death of his friend and mentor Tchaikovsky. He immediately set about composing ‘Trio Elegiaque No. 2’, dedicated ‘to the memory of a great artist’. Tchaikovsky himself did the same six years earlier, dedicating his own piano trio to the memory of Nikolai Rubenstein. Friendship, memory and dedication are, therefore, three overarching themes of ‘Trio Elegiaque No. 2’. It is fitting that Gidon Kremer chose to record this – along with two other Rachmaninov trios – for his seventieth birthday celebration, early this year. He is joined by friends Daniil Trifonov (piano) – the young pianist of the hour – and Giedre Dirvanauskaite (cello), with whom he established Kremerata Baltica 20 years ago. Even though generations separate pianist from cellist and violinist, the three share a remarkable rapport.

The opening, ‘Preghiera’ – taken from Rachmaninov’s ‘Piano Concerto No. 2’, and arranged for piano trio by Fritz Kreisler – is, for me, the highlight. Here, violinist, cellist and pianist show off their individual virtuosity, and as well as their exquisite musical compatibility. Overall, and particularly in ‘Trio Elegiaque No. 2’, Kremer, Dirvanauskaite and Trifonov give a luscious and romantic performance. A great tribute to Kremer and his musical friendships.

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