Michael Quinn
Classical Ear (UK)
star onstar onstar onstar on

The Benaud Trio and Melba Recordings are clearly a match made in heaven. Or, more accurately, in Melbourne Australia, where both are based. Vividly confirming the promise of 2012’s debut release – revealing accounts of four contemporary Australian piano trios – 'Bohemian Rhapsody' takes its agreeably cheeky title from pop-rock group Queen’s iconic 1975 anthem. Nicholas Buc’s arrangement of the operatically inclined song is eloquently sympathetic to its faux-classical inclinations, the Benaud’s rendition energetically idiomatic and rousingly inventive. Two authentic Bohemian rhapsodies, both shot through with the turbulence of grief for lost loved ones, offer more substantial fare. The fractured emotions of Smetana’s early masterpiece are piercingly contrasted by the Benauds – violin and cello siblings Lachlan and Ewan Bramble, pianist Amir Farid – each and all illuminatingly sensitive to the music, admirably reciprocal towards each other. Even better is Dvořák’s Dumky Trio, its intricate latticework of contrarily celebratory laments brilliantly realised in a supremely articulate, benchmark performance. Melba’s superlative sound is its own recommendation.