‘He is the greatest master of counterpoint in Russia; I am not even sure there is his equal in the West’, was Tchaikovsky’s verdict on his protégé, champion and friend Sergei Ivanovich Taneyev. Director of music at the Moscow Conservatory from 1885, Taneyev was a uniquely important figure in Russian musical history, a master of counterpoint who disliked the Nationalist school and instead cultivated a distinctive style that transcended national genres.
Taneyev’s works for string trio demonstrate among other things his great contrapuntal abilities. His excursions into this genre were perhaps the first by a Russian composer; certainly the first of such high quality.
The Leopold String Trio is firmly established at the forefront of the international chamber music scene and received the 2005 Royal Philharmonic Society Chamber Ensemble Award: ‘Through the sheer brilliance and maturity of their playing, their collaborations with other outstanding performers, and their enterprise and imagination in programming, commissioning and touring, the Leopold String Trio have shown uncompromising dedication to an other-wise neglected genre, and advocacy for the richness of chamber music as a whole.’