Poetry and Vitality and a great price
Sam Ostroff | Exeter, NH USA | 07/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This disc is very typical of a large percentage of Jando's recordings for Naxos. We are treated to some great music making. Jando is a top flight virtuoso but here he proves that he can put aside the solo facade and blend with other instrumentalists to put forth some beautiful music making of two significant trios. These belong in any library of basic chamber masterpieces, even as a second (or third or fourth) version. These performances are completely without any artistic mannerisms that too often can disrupt a piece and pre-empt our enjoyment of the work because a virtuoso (or virtuosos) need to fulfill there desire to show off in a cadenza, which is uncalled for in works such as these. The price is always the initial lure with Naxos, which makes this disc even a greater aquisition."
Great readings at a budget price
John Grabowski | USA | 05/01/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of those great CDs you can get if you're starting your classical music collection and don't want to bust the piggybank. But it's also worthwhile even if you already own six or eighty "more famous" Archdukes, as I do. If this CD were a car it would be a BMW for the price of a Hyundai. For Jando, Nishizaki and Onczay may not be household names (they may not even be pronounceable for some Americans) but they play with fire and the spark of performers fully caught up in the excitement of a live performance.
This Ghost has a lot of spirit, with sharp attacks and precise control of dynamnics, as well as an expansive, singing line in the first movement's main theme. I just couldn't stop smiling at the freshness and enthusiasm of it all--it's as though these musicians were experiencing these notes for the first time ever. Yet they play very tightly, as thought they've been an ensemble for years. (Compare them to recent incarnations of the Beaux Arts Trio, for example.) Tempi are brisk, approaches are crisp (though never cold and unfeeling) and as another reviewer has noted, there are no mannerisms, no eccentricities, no dawdlings here.
The Archduke benefits even more from this straightforward approach. Often the first movement of this work is indeed too mannered. There's a basic forward pulse that has to be dealt with and not interfered with too much, and it gets an excellent handling here. This work is chock full of difficulties for the performers. It's not a flashy virtuoso piece that gets the audience all worked up, but there are places where the pianist has to wrestle with the urge to speed the tempo, just because it's easier and more convenient, physically, to play it that way. Almost everyone rushes the second theme of the second movement--and they do here too, but not nearly as much as others I've heard. Trios can and have become totally unglued over this section. Dynamics can also be hard to coordinate, but there are no problems in this performance.
The theme and variations is Beethoven at his most unearthly sublime, preparing for the sort of cosmic slow movements that would become staples of his late string quartets, piano sonatas, and the 9th symphony. The group gets plenty of distinct character out of each varations, and manage to anticipate the last movement's opening phrase beautifully, which is contained in the T&Vs, just as much of the material of the second movement is found in the first movement. The last movement explodes with a sheer joy I've rarely heard in recordings. The coda twinkles and bubbles over (Jando really stands out here) like I've never heard before. But as I said, that's how these three play this music--like it was written that day for the first time. It is true they play without a lot of *individual* identity, so if you're looking for the kind of unique personalities that make up the Busch or Lindsay Quartets you won't find it here. This is more three musicians playing to a common purpose and not trying to stand out.
No matter how many recordings of these familiar works you have, make room for this CD on your shelf. Recorded sound is bright--maybe a little too bright for my tastes, but yours may vary--but the sound is crystal clear. Especially for the price, this is a no-brainer."