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As dark recordings go, this 2017 production is dark. Ilya Kazantsev, pianist of the American- based Hermitage Trio, understandably invokes Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov: ‘The richness and depth of human soul ... from lightness to darkness, from joy to sorrow, from pure happiness to complete despair’. Both of Rachmaninov’s early Trio élégiaques are here – the G-minor (1892) and D minor in memory of Tchaikovsky (1893 revised 1917), along with a 1928 arrangement of the Vocalise by his friend Julius Conus.

Broader and longer than the Moscow Rachmaninov Trio account on Hyperion (by around 18 per cent overall), the Hermitage have epic measure of the style. Their playing is consummate, fearless in its bravura, deeply impassioned and dazzlingly flighted (try the Allegro scherzando variation of the D minor’s second movement). Eyes seeking within, they mine the recesses of Rachmaninov’s fantasy, giving us lonely ruminations, finding orthodox choirs and exploring shadowy textures. The result is an emotional panorama encompassing fields of gold, open skies, confessions, funerals and judgement days. Kazantsev plays a rich Hamburg Steinway with a sonority that reflects the sombre mood.

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