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date: 20 February 2020

Beaux Arts Triolocked

  • Tully Potter


American piano trio. It was formed in New York in 1955 by the pianist Menahem Pressler (b Magdeburg, 16 Dec 1923), the violinist Daniel Guilet and the cellist Bernard Greenhouse. Encouraged by Robert Casadesus, in whose house they rehearsed, the three made a sensational début at the Berkshire Music Festival in Tanglewood; and in autumn 1955 they made their first nationwide tour. Guilet (under his original name Guilevitch) had been a member of the Calvet Quartet of Paris for a decade before the war and had led the Opéra-Comique Orchestra; after emigrating to the USA in 1941, he had led his own quartet and Toscanini's NBC SO. His style of playing, grounded in Franco-Belgian traditions, strongly coloured the trio's early performances and recordings, the latter including works by Haydn, Mendelssohn, Dvořák, Fauré and Ravel, as well as outstanding Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert cycles. His younger colleagues, who counted Egon Petri and Pablo Casals among their teachers, played with refulgent tone and deep musicality but – under his influence – always with a light touch. For a time all three taught at the University of Indiana School of Music. When Guilet retired in ...

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