THE MIRROR WITH THREE FACES
THE MIRROR WITH THREE FACES
The Delta Piano Trio enjoys a special relationship with composer Lera Auerbach. Whilst searching for contemporary repertoire the group fell in love with Auerbach’s piano trios, performing them regularly and, after writing to her about them, enjoying the opportunity to work on this music together with the composer. This experience has given these musicians a unique insight into Auerbach’s piano trios. The title of this CD was inspired by Auerbach’s second piano trio, Tryptych – The Mirror with Three Faces (2012). The work, which is at the heart of this disc, follows the physical construction of a hinged mirror, and Auerbach speaks of it in terms of a theatre piece in which three individuals have their own separate stories but are part of a single entity. Yet there is an ambiguity about the reflection in the mirror –is it three facets of the same person, or three separate images?
Auerbach’s Piano Trio No. 1 is one of her earliest works, with fascinating allusions to19th- and 20th-century musical traditions, yet with the addition of very specific effects which imbue her music with a unique spectrum of colours. The influence of Shostakovich is audible in Auerbach’s Piano Trio No. 1, and this disc opens with Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No. 2. The opening movement is a paradoxical combination of rigorous counterpoint and ethereal harmonics, followed by a more forceful, rustic and ironic second movement. A mournful passacaglia follows, and the work concludes with a haunting ‘Dance of Death’.
Delta Piano Trio - THE MIRROR WITH THREE FACES
Genre : Classical
Label : Odradek Records (2018)
THE MIRROR WITH THREE FACES
Produced by David Boos
REVIEWS & MEDIA
Praise by Lera Auerbach
"The Delta Piano Trio is a bright-eyed and talented ensemble of young musicians. I am delighted that they bring their gifts to my music with such passion and mature understanding."
5-star review in International Piano Magazine!
"The Shostakovich is a gutsy performance, magnificent in its grasp and fully in tune with the composer’s many faces. The keening gestures of the second movement are brilliantly achieved via the tightest ensemble. The third movement Passacaglia is hypnotically executed and the macabre dance of death that is the finale moves forward with chilling, inexorable momentum. The piano is superbly recorded, and the balance between the three musicians expertly judged.
While Shostakovich’s Second Piano Trio is at least vaguely well-known, the music of Lera Auerbach demands to be heard. Born in Russia, Auerbach emigrated to the States in 1991. Her music is far from unknown - a disc of piano music by Ksenia Nosikova is notable - but it is a way from receiving the recognition it richly deserves.
Auerbach’s Piano Trio No.1 (1992/4) is an early work that begins with a traditional emphasis on counterpoint; but its first movement ends with remarkably effective seagull imitations. lrene Enzlin’s cello sings expressively in the Andante lamentoso. The virtuosity of the finale (a Presto) reaches a plateau of Shostakovich-like, post-cataclysm stasis. Moving forward some 20 years. The second trio, Triptych: The Mirror with Three Faces takes inspiration from a hinged mirror: three faces, but are they the same person?
Contrasts are critical, from the frozen first movement to the grand gestures of the fleeting second, thence to a Shostakovich-influenced Waltz. A wonderful, enriching performance of a piece that demands attention."
International Piano Magazine - Colin Clarke / September/October 2018
Music Web International reviews The Mirror with Three faces
"This was my first experience with the music of Lera Auerbach, though I had heard much about her before. I must say I am greatly impressed with her works here, especially the Trio No. 2. In addition, the Delta Piano Trio have provided an account of Shostakovich’s famous Trio No. 2 that as a performance challenges my benchmark, the Borodin Trio on Chandos, and as a recording surpasses it in the utter realism of the sound. Richard Hanlon rightly designated this disc as a Recording of the Month."
"The Delta Piano Trio’s cellist creates a very eerie effect at the start of the first movement with her high notes sounding like wind blowing through the trees. The dynamic range is also quite amazing throughout and the sound has great presence—really state of the art."
by Leslie Wright
5-star review in Fonoforum!
“The playing of the "Deltas" is highly concentrated and of equal intellectual clarity, while infinitely fragile, even tender, spiced with a pinch of nostalgia. Also the interpetation of the famous Trio no. 2 of Shostakovich bursts of vitality."
Read the full review in German here!
Recording of the month - Music Web International
Music Web International choses "The Mirror with three faces" as their RECORDING OF THE MONTH and Richard Hanlon writes a passionate review of the Delta Piano Trio's new recording. Read the full article here!
"In the booklet accompanying this issue, this young Dutch piano trio introduce themselves in a delightful preface which details the serendipity behind their formation, their approach to rehearsal and their views on performance and touring. There’s real humility and humanity here and reading it I found myself liking their style before I’d even heard a note, and really wanting to like this disc. Well I do, very much.
Naxos released their debut recording in 2017: it contained trios by Taneyev and Borodin. This splendid follow-up contains more Russian repertoire, albeit of more recent provenance (Lera Auerbach is Russian-born but actually defected to America in her late teens). The pieces are aptly chosen. Coupling a towering masterpiece of the 20th century piano trio canon with two less familiar 21st century examples gives the group the opportunity to stamp their identity on a familiar work, while at the same time establishing a benchmark for the Auerbach pieces. They achieve these objectives most convincingly.
In fact, there is nothing ‘familiar’ about Shostakovich’s second trio in this fresh and fascinating account. ‘Playing safe’ is clearly not part of the Delta’s artistic manifesto, yet there is nothing wilful or pretentious about this performance. There is a sense of the players taking the piece by the scruff of the neck and re-interpreting its many ambiguities in interesting, revealing ways. Hugh Collins Rice’s perceptive note hits the nail on the head by identifying the moment of the trio’s conception, plumb between the tragic, heart-on-sleeve Eighth symphony and the ironic, biting Ninth. The core of this trio seems to lie in a corridor of ambivalence between these two emotional states. That assumption provides the context for the Deltas’ imaginative and often thrilling ‘re-telling’.
The stratospherically high opening muted strings sound especially frigid and fragile here, as though the birth of this work will be difficult at least, almost beyond the bounds of human control. In Odradek’s incredibly detailed recording, the listener misses neither a breath nor a heartbeat. This sounds like a reading borne of years of experience of the work rather than one by a group at the dawn of their career. The quick staccato tread of the strings as the Andante proceeds is more pronounced and ‘grainier’ than on more familiar recordings. It presents a convincing contrast to the opening. Each successive idea is freshly presented, fully considered and assimilated into the Delta’s cogent vision of the whole. The whirlwind Allegro con brio scherzo is virtuosically delivered, the string effects at its conclusion spat out most strangely. This is not remotely cosy -The Delta’s playing here is frankly thrilling. Gerard Spronk’s violin cantilena at the start of the Largo is frozen and heart-breaking. The pianist seemingly has little do in this temporally brief yet spiritually infinite passacaglia other than to release its 48 chords into the air, but how they hang! This desolate music drips with pointlessness, waste and loss. It is profoundly affecting. The ‘Dance of Death’ finale presents the ambiguities of the whole clothed in possibly the most dramatic sonic garb I have yet encountered. The dynamic and textural contrasts are exaggerated most tastefully and tellingly better to convey Shostakovich’s terrifying message. This is brilliant, thoughtful and novel music-making. Its power is considerably amplified by Odradek’s terrific recording. Hearing the Delta Piano Trio here took me back to the last time I was so impressed by a new chamber group. That was the Pavel Haas String Quartet’s debut releases of Janacek and Haas on Supraphon. On this evidence, this group certainly belong in that august company.
I cannot speak highly enough of the Delta Piano Trio. If this adventurous issue is anything to go by, theirs is a future of infinite promise. The Odradek recording is absolutely outstanding; it projects elemental detail rendered in a naturally warm acoustic. It’s the second, superb product from this source that I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing inside a week. A must for all lovers of the genre, the absorbing account of the Shostakovich deserves the widest possible currency in its own right."
Review in Luister
Another raving review for "The Mirror with Three Faces" - In the Dutch magazine "Luister"
"Hoewel het Nederlands Delta Piano Trio relatief jong is - het drietal kwam elkaar in 2013 in Salzburg tegen - klinkt het gezelschap inmiddels als een rijp kamermuziekensemble. Het trio gaat met deze tweede cd, na een goed ontvangen debuut met zelden gespeelde trio’s van Borodin en Tanejev, ook weer op avontuur met Dmitri Sjostakovitsj’ schrijnende Tweede Pianotrio uit 1944 en twee werken van de Russisch-Amerikaanse componiste Lera Auerbach (1973). Pianiste Vera Kooper kwam het werk al surfend op het internet tegen op zoek naar interessante hedendaagse muziek en was meteen verkocht. En terrecht. Haar twee pianotrio’s op deze cd - Pianotrio nr. 1 uit 1994 en Pianotrio nr. 2 ‘Triptichon - Der Spiegel mit den drei Gesichtern’ uit 2012 - balanceren op een speelse manier tussen Bach en Mahler, tussen tonaal en atonaal, tussen grimmig en luchtig. Het polystilisme van Alfred Schnittke komt in gedachten langs, maar ze heeft een contempotainere toon die vooral in het tweede trio leidt tot een even fascinerend als raadselachtig werk, waarin ‘reflectie’ een hoofdrol speelt. Het Delta Piano Trio speelt alles met een buitengewone autoriteit en maakt vooral met de laatste twee delen van Sjostakovitsj’ trio een intens hoogtepunt van deze plaat."
Richard Bratby reviewed The Mirror with Three Faces for Gramophone Magazine;
GRAMOPHONE COLLECTOR - THREE'S COMPANY
"... there's still an unmistakeable sense of [Lera Auerbach's] music fitting into the Russian tradition of Shostakovich, whose Second Trio, in a vivid, wide-eyed performance, opens the disc. There's definitely something serious going on beneath the surface here and the Delta Piano Trio manage to find it - even while throwing themselves wholeheartedly into Auerbach's seagull cries, motorbike drones and wobbly imitations of a musical saw. You'll need a sense of humour, but I found it irresistible."
BBC Music Magazine
Erik Levy for BBC Music Magazine:
"The Delta Piano Trio deliver a very powerful and convincing account of Shostakovich's Second Piano Trio, one which takes nothing in the music for granted. Throughout, there is a keen attention to details often overlooked by other interpreters. Good examples are their exaggeratedly snarling surges of sound which bring a particularly subversive element to the already frenzied Scherzo, and the violin's grotesquely rasping open E string in the Jewish dance at the start of the Finale. Apart from these significant interpretive nuances, the Delta Piano Trio also has a fine grasp of longer-term structure, as reflected in the way they control the rise and fall in intensity of the Passacaglia, then trace the slow yet inexorable build-up of bitterness and anger through the Finale to overwhelming effect.
Lera Auerbach's sound world inhabits similar realms of irony and darkness as Shostakovich, even though she employs a more advanced musical language that owes much to Alfred Schnittke. Her first Piano Trio, completed when she was only 21 years of age, has some striking ideas, in particular a sequence of high glissandos on the cello near the end of the first movement that evokes the sound of seagulls.
The Second Trio, composed 20 years later, is more complex in design, but retains the earlier work's capacity to communicate vivid musical images. As in the Shostakovich, the Delta Piano Trio delivers strongly characterized performances and Odradek's recording is both warm and clear."
Norman Lebrecht about the Mirror with Three Faces:
"THE DELTA PIANO TRIO STAYS TRUE TO SHOSTAKOVICH AND AUERBACH
...this is an instant ear-grabber....
...The Delta Piano Trio's account of Shostakovich's second string trio, dated 1944, leaves no doubt to the composer's state of mind in the closing stages of the Second World War. Ostensibly a tribute to a late friend, Ivan Sollertinsky, the work ripples with anger and frustration at pointless deaths and ruined lives - the appalling legacy of the Stalin-Hitler era. The last two movements, with their overt Hebrew melodies, are a protest at Soviet indifference to the Nazi holocaust of the Jews. I don't think I have ever heard the finale played with more explicit regard to the composer's intentions.
...Gerard Spronk, Irene Enzlin and Vera Kooper are the excellent trio players, and Odradek's new Italian studio sounds idyllic."
Interview on Dutch TV about "The Mirror with Three Faces"
Mar. 30, 2018
The trio appeared on "Vrije Geluiden" to talk about their new CD and the music of Shostakovich and Lera Auerbach.
Watch the interview here!
Review "Mirror with Three Faces" in Trouw
A wonderful review for The Mirror with Three Faces in the Dutch newspaper "Trouw"!
"Delta Piano Trio gives off impressive business card"
'One of the iconic chamber music works of the 20th century is the Piano Trio no. 2 in e minor, op. 67, by Dmitri Shostakovich. The work, written in 1944, is an epitaph for a friend of the composer who passed away, as well as for the millions of Jews who were murdered in concentration camps at that time. The hesitating and chilling beginning with thin harmonics is the ultimate voicing of that suffering.
The young Delta Piano Trio gives off an impressive business card with a very intense performance of this work. Violinist Gerard Spronk, cellist Irene Enzlin and pianist Vera Kooper guarantee a very inspired performance. They combine Shostakovich with two trios of Russian composer Lera Auerbach (1973). Her compact Piano Trio no. 1 is grafted on Shostakovich's sound world, but certainly has an own identity, shown for example in the bizarre, quasi-baroque opening with sounds of screaming seagulls.
Her grand Piano Trio no. 2, 'This Mirror Has Three Faces', is a fascinating, three-part music mirror in which the composer makes the listener doubt what is reality and what reflection.
This CD, also gorgeously designed, calls for further acquaintance with Lera Auerbach and the Delta Piano Trio"
"Cliff-edge Intensity" - Review in Klassieke Zaken
Gerard Scheltens reviewed The Mirror with Three Faces for Dutch magazine Klassieke Zaken:
"After recording a succesful Taneyev-Borodin CD for Naxos Records - exceptional repertoire and exceptionally well-played - there are many reasons to look forward to a second CD from Vera Kooper (piano), Gerard Spronk (viool) and Irene Enzlin (cello), who make up the Dutch Delta Piano Trio.
There are already quite a few recordings of Shostakovich's Piano Trio No. 2, a harrowing and poignant lamentation on the death of a friend, but this new recording certainly adds something: a cliff-edge intensity. It is music that leaves the listener sitting on the edge of his seat. It is, however, the combination with the recording with the two piano trios by Lera Auerbach, the composer who left the Soviet-Union at the age of 17 to spread her wings in the US which makes this CD particularly interesting. Auerbach is 44 years old now and her oeuvre is both original and idiosyncratic.
Because of Auerbach's music's refined variety of tonal and atonal elements, you could call her a kindred-spirit of Alfred Schnittke. This music could be labelled "post-modern" or "eclectic", but her music is more; fresher while more intense, exciting and constantly varied. This music fits the Delta Piano Trio like a glove, as they work their way to the top."
The Mirror with Three Faces in Spiegel!
Spiegel featured The Mirror with Three Faces!
"Das erst 2013 in Salzburg gegründete Delta Piano Trio hat sich einfühlsam mit Lera Auerbachs Musik beschäftigt, woraus eine Freundschaft mit der Komponistin erwuchs. Eine Vertrautheit, die man hört.
Gerade das namensgebende Kernstück der CD "The Mirror With Three Faces" lag den Trio-Mitgliedern Vera Kooper (Klavier), Gerard Spronk (Violine) und Irene Enzlin (Cello) besonders am Herzen. Beinahe orchestral anschwellende Parts ("First Unfolding") weben in kurzer Zeit ein dichtes Klanggeflecht, dem ein tänzerisch auftrumpfendes Intermezzo folgt. Auerbachs Stil der wechselnden Akzente und Klangfarben macht aus dem "Spiegel mit den drei Gesichtern" ein scharfes Kontrastbild zum vorangestellten Piano Trio No.1, das dafür in seiner konzentrierten Knappheit fasziniert. Die Ouvertüre der CD mit e-moll-Trio Op.67 vom Dmitrij Schostakowitsch, einem verwandten Meister der Kammermusik, darf sicher als Vorbild-Entwurf verstanden werden."
Read the full article in German here.
5- star review in Pizzicato Magazine!
Remy Frank gives the Delta Piano Trio a five-star review in Pizzicato Magazine.
"Glowing performances of three great piano trios. Be it in the most energetic or in the very quiet and meditative passages, the Delta Piano trio plays with great intensity and crackling tension."
Read the full review in German here!