In Japan they call it the 'Golden Trio' - and any recording that brings together Martha Argerich, Gidon Kremer and Mischa Maisky for a concert of works by Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich is guaranteed to be golden. Whether the three busy soloists, who are also good friends, owe this nickname to the unique quality of their musical collaboration or to the fact that their appearances together are so rare is beside the point.
This is the first time the three artists - each of whom has enjoyed a long individual association with the Yellow Label - can be heard as a trio on a Deutsche Grammophon disc.
The occasion for the recording was a sad one. Argerich, Kremer and Maisky met in Tokyo in May 1998 to honour the memory of the impresario Reinhard Paulsen, who, as Argerich's and Kremer's concert agent, worked hard to bring the Golden Trio before the public. The main works featured in the concert were both written by the composers for deceased friends.
Tchaikovsky composed his Piano Trio in A minor, op.50 in memory of his friend Nikolay Rubinstein in 1881-1882. Shostakovich's Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor was composed after the death of one of his closest friends, Ivan Sollertinsky, in 1944. It was with the latter work that the trio introduced itself in concert in Verbier in 1997.