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When we think of the great Russian composer, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov [1844-1908], we rarely think of

his chamber music or his piano concerto. At least with the piano concerto. there are about ten
available recordings, the most famous of which may be the one with Sviatoslav Richter and a youth
orchestra conducted by Kyril Konrdrashin. Michael Ponti (Vox) and Malcolm Binns (Hyperion) also made
outstanding recordings of the little known Piano Concerto in C-sharp Minor, Op. 30 (Op. Posth.).
The Piano Trio in C Minor seems to be a much totally neglected work. I had an opportunity to listen to
the David Oistrakh Trio with Sviatoslav Knushevitsky (cello) and Lev Oborin (piano) in a July 1952
recording issued in a 10-CD boxed set from Brilliant Classics [9101]. This trio would be considered
among the finest of any Russian trio. The performance also appears on Preiser [90595 coupled with the
Smetana Piano Trio.] The Rimsky Trio was composed in 1897 by the then 53-year-old composer.
Everybodycomposer and publisher particularlywere not happy with the end result, Rimsky noting
that chamber music was not his "forte." He thus refused to have the work published though his wife
played it frequently. His former student/eventually son-in-law, Maximilian Steinberg [teacher of
Shostakovich], reworked or completed the Trio in 1939 and it was subsequenty published in the
Steinberg edition in 1970. Perhaps Steinberg could note sections throughout the work that needed to
be amplified and thus took on the responsibility making another great Russian piano trio palatable to
the music loving public. Only two recordings seem to be available these days, the David Oistrakh Trio
on Brilliant, and a stereo version in a 3-CD Vox Box performed by the Eastman Piano Trio (Rochester,
NY) [3021, out-of-print but available through ArkivMusic as a reprint].
The Rimsky-Korsakov trio is comprised of four movements and times in at almost 38 minutes.
Movements I-II are marked Allegro while III-IV are marked Adagio with IV concluding marked as Allegro
Whether Rimsky liked it or not, others did, and I found it very rewarding wishing the composer had
written other chamber works as well. He just didn't have the confidence in his own writing of chamber
music. Time and writing more of it may have changed his mind.
Lance G. Hill

Well as it happens a secondhand version amazingly popped up in the local shop for a few bucks. It's
played by the Bekova sisters on Chandos and coupled with their arrangement of Mussorgsky's Pictures at
an Exhibition.
I agree that the R-K is worthwhile and should be far more widely known.
I have several versions of the Pictures for piano, Ravel's orchestration and a brass band version, but a
piano trio arrangement is a first for me. Have there been others? The Bekova's arrangement is not
surprisingly centered around the piano but there are some very effective passages where the strings
add color that got me going. The CD sound is is Ok - a bit 'back of hall'.

So thanks Lance for the recommendation. Jeremy

Thanks for the recommendation - I like R-K and will definitely look out for it.
I have a CD of his string quartet music played by the Lyric Quartet It has an early quartet that's nice but
not particularly distinctive and the String Quartet "B-la-F", in which he composed the 1st movement;
other movements are by Lyadov, Glazunov and Borodin. I think it's rather good and surprisingly hangs
Are there other similar chamber collaborations out there that are successful?
The CD is produced by Meridian and has great sound. Jeremy