Anna Williams (violin), Mikhail Veselov (cello) and Eri Nakamura (piano) have been playing since 2010 as the Neave Trio, named for a Gaelic word meaning radiant and bright. They are committed champions of contemporary music, especially works by living composers, and regularly collaborate with filmmakers and dance companies. As a result, their recordings, while perhaps not as adventurous as their concert programming, have nevertheless featured interesting repertoire. American Moments (2016) included Erich Korngold’s Piano Trio in D (his first published composition, written when he was 12) alongside Leonard Bernstein’s only Piano Trio (also an early work) and Arthur Foote’s Piano Trio No 2 in B Flat, very underrepresented in currently in-print recordings.
In similar style, this second collection for Chandos features three French composers, all of whom wrote only one piano trio. Albert Roussel was 33 when his Trio in E Flat was published in 1902, and although an early work (his second), it’s mature and assured with plenty of intriguing beauty. Claude Debussy’s Piano Trio in G (1880), on the other hand, is the work of a somewhat gauche teenage piano teacher in the early stages of his compositional development and bears little resemblance to his later works. It’s an instructive and fascinating choice though: young, light and fresh, with a balletic second movement and cheery overall tone. In contrast, Gabriel Fauré’s Piano Trio in D Minor (1822-3) was written late in life, when the composer was battling deafness and extreme fatigue. Melancholy and intense, violin and cello dance around each other and sometimes double to produce sonorous lines of deep lyricism.
Williams and Veselov handle this beautifully in a captivating and sensitive performance that maintains a delicacy of touch without sacrificing any of the work’s passion. Another thought-provoking program from this young trio, recorded with a lovely presence and very good balance between instruments.