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Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Arman Trio 10th Anniversary Concert

Wigmore Hall 18 February 2008

It has been a pleasure to follow the Arman Trio in London during recent years, and now its indefatigable eponymous Turkish-born pianist, Deniz Arman Gelenbe has taken on the additional onerous task of Acting Head of Piano at our local Trinity College of Music in Greenwich.

The current trio celebrated this milestone with a well attended recital at Wigmore Hall, bookended with Mozart and Schumann, and introducing the chamber music of the (to me) not very familiar composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968). From the programme notes it emerges that he was an Italian Jew who narrowly escaped the fate of some of his composer confreres who were sucked into the Holocaust. Marcel Tyberg, though only one-sixteenth Jewish, went via the concentration camp at San Sabba to Auschwitz where he was put to death. The Tedesco family escaped to USA in 1939 and Mario became a teacher of film music in Hollywood.

At this concert Mario's 1st Piano Trio of 1928 was given its very belated UK premiere 80 years on, their account of it confirming the group's reputation for passionate engagement with the music they present. However, on this occasion the Mozart K502 was workmanlike, no more, and Schumann's No 1 Op 63 balanced less subtly than by the Florestans at Cheltenham or my favourite Trio Jean Paul in Lucerne and on Ars Musica CDs.

Castelnuovo-Tedesco's trio made the strongest impression, a full length, expansively romantic work, which is available in a good recording by Deniz Arman Gelenbe's American Arman Ensemble dating from 1996, coupled with his Piano Quintet [Albany TROY 191].

At that time Deniz Arman Gelenbe divided her time between Paris and North Carolina; exploring further with Google, I discovered a CD of Turkish piano quintets by Erkin and Kodalli [Hungaraton HGR 31536]. On that link I found and listened to eighteen one-minute samples, which have been enough to persuade me to order the CD...

Peter Grahame Woolf