Readings Bookstores Australia

This is Trio Anima Mundi’s debut recording and what is fabulous about it – aside from the strong performances of each work – is that there is no Beethoven or Brahms in sight on an album titled Romantic Piano Trios . Instead, we have four magnificent trios written in the early twentieth century, but in the style of the Romantics. It starts with William Hurlstone’s ‘Piano Trio’ composed in 1905. Plagued with ill health and the constant need to support himself financially, he was nonetheless considered by those that knew him as one of the most brilliant composers of the time. He’s sadly overlooked now, and when I listened to this work I could see no reason why this rich music should be neglected. Almost tacked on to the end of CD one is the Miriam Hyde ‘Fantasy Trio’. It’s only ever been recorded once but a friend of mine waxed lyrical about a performance they had heard. Only one movement, it feels like a series of vignettes of musical ideas flowing gently from one to the other.

Once you get to the second CD, you are greeted by Max d’Ollone, a French composer. Active during the avant-garde period, he wasn’t very popular because of his traditional style. I particularly like the way Trio Anima Mundi lets the melody line be at the forefront of the texture so the accompaniment doesn’t swamp the music.

The final work is ‘Piano Trio No.1′ by Dag Wirén. Comparatively unusual in his use of rhythm, he lets the more contemporary ideas influence his music more than the other composers. If you are a fan of the Beethoven and Brahms string quartets, I would highly recommend you immerse yourself in these works as they owe a lot to those masters, as well as the composers’ own geniuses. They’re interesting, accessible and, best of all, performed by our very own local musicians.

—Kate Rockstrom