Trio Anima Mundi Unearth British Gems

The Trio Anima Mundi calls what they do “piano trio archaeology.” Buried under the standard repertoire are layers of exceptional music. And the trio has unearthed some real finds.

Two of these composers in this program are well-known (sort of), the others not. Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Rutland Boughton have been rated one-hit wonders, for “Hiawatha” and “The Immortal Hour” respectively. And yet both composers wrote so much more of the same quality.

Coleridge-Taylor’s Piano Trio in E minor revels in late-Romantic expressiveness. Yet it does so concisely — the piece is only nine minutes long. Still, it’s blessed with Coleridge-Taylor’s lyrical gift.

Boughton’s “Celtic Prelude” sounds sweetly sentimental. The Irish melody, especially when given to the cello is gorgeous. Though written in 1921, to me, it had a hint of Victorian about it.

I found Rosalind Ellicott’s Piano Trio No. 1 a most intriguing work. the most The Piano Trio No. 1 by Rosalind Ellicott, active in the late 1800s. There’s a hint of Victorian sentimentality in this trio, but only just. Ellicott’s trio is a beautifully crafted work that seems an organic whole.

Harry Waldo Warner’s Piano Trio in A minor provides a startling contrast. This 1923 work seems forward-looking — I’d describe it as progressive Debussy.

The Trio Anima Mundi gives each work its due. The performers carefully match their playing styles to the era of each work. But these are not academic readings. The piano trio is invested in this music, playing with expression and (I think) affection.

English Piano Trios
Rutland Boughton; Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Rosalind Ellicott, James Cliffe Forester, Harry Waldo Warner
Trio Anima Mundi
Divine Art DDA 25158

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