This lovely debut album sees The Danish Piano Trio present a beautiful collection of piano based music and it was only when playing it after a long hard day that we appreciated its virtue.
The trio is newly-formed and comprises three of Denmark’s top musicians: pianist Katrine Gislinge, cellist Toke Møldrup and violinist Lars Bjørnkjær, who plays the Royal Theatre’s Stradivarius Yoldi-Moldenhauer, of 1714.
The opening work is the Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in F Minor, by Peter Lange-Müller, a Danish composer and pianist influenced by Danish folk music and by the work of Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms.
This starts off rather mournfully with strings but soon becomes a dramatic if restrained piano piece, suggestive of walks in spectacular mountains, under the moon (and probably in a Victorian suit, wearing a moustache and top hat). It then slows before entering a delicate phase. (This was — and we’re not joking — surely purloined by the writers of the Rhubarb And Custard theme tune).
The second and third pieces are by Niels Gade, who died in 1890 and was considered the most important Danish musician of his day. Again, these are delicate and romantic, the first (Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in F Major) more suggestive of a spring walk through the woods than the previous track and was, according to the sleeve notes, written when he was at the peak of his powers.
His Piano Trio in B Flat Major is more sombre, written to describe a hero setting off on adventure and leaving his loved ones behind.
The closing piece is by Rued Langgaard, who was largely unrecognised in life and composed in a late Romantic style, Wikipedia saying that his work can be dramatic and “endowed with colossal mood swings”. Mountain Flowers was written when he was just 15 and is part of a large piece; it’s mournful and slow, and a nice closing piece to the album.