Danish pianist Jens Elvekjaer gave his American solo recital debut last month at Dumbarton Oaks. He returns to Washington this week with the chamber ensemble he also plays in, the Trio con Brio Copenhagen, in a concert at the Library of Congress tomorrow night (February 18, 8 pm) with violist James Dunham. Elvekjaer, along with violinist Soo-Jin Hong and cellist Soo-Kyung Hong, who are sisters from Korea, won the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson International Trio Award in 2005 (as well as a noteworthy top prize at the 2002 ARD Competition in Munich). As part of their KLR Award, the group went on a sponsored concert tour, including a stop at the Clarice Smith Center in a program (.PDF file) of Brahms, Ravel, and Haydn last year.
Trios by Ravel, Dvořák, Bloch, Trio con Brio Copenhagen
(released on February 6, 2007)
The KLR Award also financed this maiden CD release, which includes one of the pieces on that 2008 recital, Ravel's A minor trio. The recording bears out the words of Washington Post critic Daniel Ginsberg, who described their performance in his review as "something more grand and adamant, as though portraying conflict itself." The weightiness of Elvekjaer's playing drives the trio's sound, finding a corresponding steeliness in the violin and cello of the Hong sisters. That verve and visceral excitement in their sound, propelled by ferocious technique, is surely what impressed those who gave the group its awards. It also carries through in Dvořák's "Dumky" Trio, op. 90, with its movements based on the Ukrainian folk lament, the dumka. As in the Ravel, even the slow passages have a buzzing edginess to them. The discovery of this disc are the concluding set of three nocturnes by Ernest Bloch, neo-Romantic bon-bons composed for the New York Trio in 1924.
The group's new Mendelssohn CD will reportedly be released this month, and Mendelssohn will feature prominently in their performance tomorrow night at the Library of Congress (February 18, 8 pm), which will include the 12-year old Mendelssohn’s Piano Quartet in B minor, op. 3, and his only Song without Words written for cello, as well as Beethoven’s "Archduke" Trio.