BBC Music Magazine

After the Darkness


Krasa: Passacagli­a & Fuga;

Tanec; Klein: String trio;

Weiner: Serenade

The Hague String Trio

Cobra 0065 61:13 mins

This thoughtful disc collects rarely-heard works for string trio composed in the shadow of Nazi occupation. Its evocative title, After the Darkness, refers to the book by Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel, and a number of these works were written while the composers were interned in ghettos and concentrat­ion camps. This outstandin­g music nonetheles­s burns bright, and the Hague String Trio brings energy and soul to this heartfelt collection.

A highpoint of the disc is a world premiere recording of

Dick Kattenburg’s Trio à cordes, completed on the brink of World War II, when Jewish participat­ion in profession­al musical life effectivel­y vanished. The Hague Trio happened on this almost entirely forgotten work while exploring the Netherland­s Muziek Instituut and were delighted to discover Kattenburg’s original manuscript ‘with comic doodles scribbled in the margins’. Concise and powerful, the trio is a vibrant single-movement work packed with invention, and performed here with dizzying verve.

Other highlights include Gideon Klein’s String Trio, composed in 1944 while Klein was imprisoned in the Terezín prison camp. With echoes of Janá ek, the work blends fierce energy in its two outer movements with a spellbindi­ng series of variations on a Moravian folk song. Folk music also infuses Hans Krása’s vibrant Tanec (Dance), while his Passacagli­a and Fuga teeters between solemnity and waltz-like flamboyanc­e. The recording is a touch too intimate: the players’ breathing is often audible which soon grows distractin­g. However, this is otherwise an accomplish­ed and affecting disc performed with great skill and care. Kate Wakeling



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