Isaac Stern, Leonard Rose, and Eugene Istomin play Beethoven's "Archduke" Trio
From the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées
The celebrated string trio of pianist Eugene Istomin, violinist Isaac Stern, and cellist Leonard Rose made an indelible mark on the history chamber music: during their 28 years together (1955-1983), they played hundreds of concerts and made 19 recordings. Successors to celebrated ensembles like the Cortot-Thibaud-Casals Trio and the Rubinstein-Heiftez-Piatigorsky Trio, their collaboration reached a high point in the 1970s during the celebrations of the 200th birthday of Beethoven, when they recorded his complete string trios in an interpretation that continues to be considered one of the greatest ever made.
In a 1965 French concert tour, the three artists performed Beethoven’s “Archduke” Trio No. 7 in B-flat Major, nicknamed for its dedicatee the Archduke Rodolph, one of the composer’s patrons. Composed in 1811 and quite different from the composer’s dramatic and impetuous Fifth Symphony and Sonata Appassionata, the “Archduke” trio seems closer in spirit to his Seventh and Eighth Symphonies, with its extended form and solid and powerful architecture. As Claude Rostand points out, Beethoven’s inspiration here is “sublime and his thematically, tonally, and harmonically inventive fantasy [is] equal to that of his greatest masterpieces”.