Review from Fanfare Magazine (Jan/Feb.2006)
CD Review by Jerry Dubins
MENDELSSOHN Piano Trio No. 1 in d, op. 49. BRAHMS Piano Trio in B, op. 8 â€¢ Jalina Tr â€¢ CLASSICO 466 (64:18)
Pairing these two trios on a single disc is not unprecedented, though it is uncommonâ€”a famous recording with Heifetz, Rubinstein, Piatigorsky (in the Mendelssohn) and Feuermann (in the Brahms) is still available. But more frequently, and logically, one finds the two Mendelssohn trios in tandem, and one of Brahmsâ€™s other trios as discmate to the B-Major. The contrast here, I think, is a nice one. If nothing else, the Mendelssohn counters Brahmsâ€™s autumn regret with springâ€™s eternal hope.
I have so many recordings of these works in my collection that Iâ€™ve honestly lost track. So, it is understandable that I should have received this recent release with not a little feeling of ennui. Was I ever caught off guard. What a cruel trick Fate has played me that I, of legendary verbosity, should be at a loss for words to describe the alluring beauty of these performances. Neverâ€”and I mean never â€”have I heard either of these works played with such expressive nuance and exquisite, heartfelt sensitivity. These performances speak to me of a rapture regularly sought but rarely achieved. When I am moved to weep with joy, I know I am hearing what music can and should be.
The Jalina Trioâ€”formed in 1995 at the Academy of Music in Pragueâ€”achieves this miracle, not through any exaggeration of portamento or dynamic italicization of phrasing, but by enabling us, for once, to hear deep inside the score. The Mendelssohn in particular benefits. Few pieces in the genre are as songful and soulful as this D-Minor Trio. Yet it suffers a serious defect, one that is not all that uncommon for works of this type. Mendelssohn was one of the great pianists of his day, and this trio not only favors the piano, it elevates it almost to the role of soloist in a concerto with violin and cello accompaniment. Its breathless, nonstop cascades of passagework can easily camouflage the string instruments. But the Jalina players manage to balance themselves in such a way, without forcing the piano to recede into the background, that every felicity of Mendelssohnâ€™s string-writing is revealed with pristine clarity. And what sweetness and purity of tone we hear from these superb musicians.
Much the same can be said of the Brahms, in which Line Fredensâ€™s violin and Janne Fredensâ€™s cello emerge from the fullness and richness of the pianoâ€™s sonorities with throbbing vibrancy. The Jalina Trio plays the later, revised version of the B-Major Trio, and they do take the massive first-movement exposition repeat.
This is a chamber music disc nonpareil , one that deserves to be in everyoneâ€™s collection, and will surely be on my next Want List. Jerry Dubins
This article originally appeared in Issue 29:3 (Jan/Feb 2006) of Fanfare Magazine.
The Strad Reviews the Jalina Trio's New CD (August 2004)
The Jalina Trio's robust opening movement signals a view of the Mendelssohn First Piano Trio that is full of passion and youthful vigour. The keyboard's role is little less demanding than that of the composer's two virtuosic piano concertos, and without ever gratuitously commanding our attention pianist Natsuki Fukasawa gives a superb account, nimbly weaving a gorgeous web of sound around the string players. Her companions, violinist Line and cellist Janne Fredens, are excellent: their vibrato goes just to the edge of respectability in their desire to create a large and warm tone. The Scherzo is taken dangerously fast, generating the excitement that comes from musicians taken to the brink. The finale is equally fleet of foot, with dynamics used to their full extent, bringing some magical quiet moments.
The Jalina was formed at the Prague Academy nine years ago, and it is the Guarneri Trio Prague's recording that provides the major alternative, coupled with an exceedingly fine, if less outgoing, performance of Mendelssohn Second Piano Trio (Praga Digitals).
An ugly scoop in the opening cello statement is one of the few miscalculations in an equally pleasing reading of the Brahms B major Trio. The first movement moves convincingly from passages of strength to those of restrained sensitivity and beauty. The spooky moments of the Scherzo are superbly handled, though the slow central section is just a little mannered. An unhurried and serene account of the following Adagio suitably contrasts with a forceful final Allegro.
Throughout the disc the Jalina Trio's playing is excellent and immaculately balanced, enjoying a recording of exceptional quality.
- DAVID DENTON
The Jalina Trio was founded in 1995, at the Academy of Music in Prague, and performs in Denmark, England, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Japan
Australia, Israel and the United States, receiving rave reviews from the press. Of their dÃ©but at the Tivoli Concert Hall in Copenhagen, the Berlingske Tidende wrote: "The Jalina Trio has a special approach in allowing a piece to develop; not with the aid of violence and muscle-strength, but rather, with an unusually organic breadth." Since then, they continue to perform regularly in Denmark, where they have been featured on Good Morning Denmark; television show and Danish Radio. Additional broadcasts
include those on ABC Australian Radio, Yomiuri Television in Japan and Italian Television. Notable performances in recent years include a tour of California where they
performed the Beethoven Triple Concerto as well as solo concerti in the same program.
The trio's special interest in promoting newer repertoire for the piano trio genre has inspired them to record nine works by contemporary Danish composers. For album information regarding Now! Denmark CD (Classico class485), visit the Jalina Trio's website at www.jalinatrio.com.
The Jalina Trio has been invited to participate in the Isaac Stern Chamber Music Workshop at Carnegie Hall (culminating in a performance at Carnegie Hall), and the
Music Encounters in Jerusalem, where Isaac Stern was the leading mentor. Other numerous honors include top prizes in the Trapani International Chamber Music
Competition, the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition, the Trondheim International Chamber Music Competition, and the Danish Radio Competition.
The trio has studied intensively with Tim Fredericksen of the Royal Danish Academy and Ferenc Rados of the Liszt Academy in Budapest. They have also worked with the
members of the Emerson Quartet, pianists Leon Fleischer and Wu Han, as well as violinist Tutter Givskov of the Copenhagen String Quartet.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Mendelssohn Piano Trio in D Minor, Op. 4: Molto allegro ed agita
2. Andante con moto tranquillo
3. Scherzo: Leggiero e vivace
4. Finale: Allegro assai appassionato
5. Brahms Piano Trio in B Major, Op. 8: Allegro con brio
6. Scherzo: Allegro molto