I can always count on 2L Recordings when it comes to challenging me intellectually, through complex musical themes, or helping me to bask in the beauty of some of the finest recordings of the last ten or twenty years. When I receive a recording from Norway and it’s something as simple as a Mozart trio, I experience a different type of satisfaction, one that comes from knowing I can remove my so-called thinking cap and simply relax and enjoy the music at face value. Mozart’s Divertimento in E flat major, performed by the Trio Taus, certainly qualifies. A divertimento is defined as something that’s intended for “easy listening,” and it’s hard to listen to Trio Taus perform without floating away in a sea of the purest beauty.
There is a particular theme to this recording, that this particular trio piece is ambitious and written almost like a symphony. It has six movements, in total, adding up to almost 50 minutes. Trio Taus is also a purely string trio, comprised of violinist Liv Hilde Klokk, violist Ida Bryhn and cellist Torun Saeter Stavseng. With this type of trio it’s easy to sound warm and sweet and utterly pleasing, so it takes both the genius of Mozart and the sensitivity of these three musicians to draw out so many emotions and visuals. While the liner notes describe E flat major as a key of “imperial boldness and confidence,” but if I desired only that I’d stick with Haydn.
KV 563 is also considered an underappreciated work in the Mozart canon, so it’s a pleasure to see the commitment and gentleness exhibited by Trio Taus. I have a multitude of Mozart recordings in my music collection, but I’m fairly sure that this is the first time I’ve heard this composition. It’s airy and full of inner light, and it soothes the soul in a disarmingly simple way. Still, you can delve deep into this work and still uncover numerous Mozart innovations such as the “intimate conversations” between the players and the use of contrapuntal polyphony that allows each member of the Trio Taus to contribute on equal footing.
If you wonder how 2L head honcho Morten Lindberg turns such a light and joyful small ensemble into a sonic masterpiece, the usual stunning elements are present–the sound of three musicians producing notes in yet another cavernous Norwegian church, and a deep and sonorous representation of precious instruments. In this case, Trio Taus has borrowed three extraordinary instruments for the occasion: a violin built in 1759, a viola built in 1665 and a cello crafted in 1725, all courtesy of the Dextra Musica Foundation. That’s yet one more reason to fall in love with this recording. 2L Recordings never involve short cuts or impromptu decisions. Everything is planned with exquisite gentleness, and that’s why Mozart collectors must make an exception to buy yet another Mozart recording. This one.
(Photos courtesy of 2L Recordings)