New album release: Linos Piano Trio plays Ravel on historic instruments

The Linos Piano Trio explores Ravel’s relationship with the past, presenting his great masterpiece the Piano Trio alongside new transcriptions of Le Tombeau de Couperin and Pavane pour une infante défunte on period instruments. The new transcriptions are an extension of Linos’ “Stolen Music” project, in which the trio collaboratively re-imagines orchestral masterpieces as if they had been conceived for Piano Trio.

In search of the transparency and immediacy of the kind of performance Ravel might have heard in his lifetime, the Linos players chose to explore this repertoire on instruments that Ravel knew, finding possibilities of expression different from the current performance practice on modern instruments. Violinist Konrad Elias-Trostmann and cellist Vladimir Waltham play on a combination of plain and wound gut strings, while Pianist Prach Boondiskulchok performs on an 1882 Érard Concert Grand piano, the same make and a very similar model to the piano Ravel himself owned and composed with.

While the Pavane, composed in 1899, depicts an imagined dance in a 17th-century Spanish court and the Tombeau presents a series of neo-baroque dances, composed against the backdrop of the First World War, the Linos Piano Trio sees the Ravel Trio as a set of dances. Completed in 1914, immediately before Ravel enlisted for military service, the Trio in A minor speaks to Le Tombeau across the historical divide of the outbreak of war in their ‘search for lost dances’: “the Piano Trio imagines dances of his childhood, dances of faraway places, dances of victory and death, while Le Tombeau reimagines dances from faraway times”.

Founded in 2007, the Linos Piano Trio’s colourful and distinctive musical voice draws on the rich cultural and artistic backgrounds of the three musicians. Their five nationalities and breadth of specialisms, ranging from historical performance to new music, contribute to their multifaceted and personal performances. Alongside a commitment to the genre’s masterpieces, Linos expands the repertoire by championing hidden gems and creating new trio transcriptions.

Linos’s previous discs for Cavi Music include the first complete set of C.P.E. Bach’s Piano Trios (2020), receiving numerous five-star reviews, and an album of their own Stolen Music transcriptions (2021), which won the prestigious ‘Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik’ (German Record Critics Award) in the chamber music category.

The Linos Piano Trio was the First Prize and Audience Prize winner of the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition 2015, the 2014 winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Frost Prize, and has been Carne Ensemble-in-Residence at Trinity Laban Conservatoire since 2017.