André Previn, Anne-Sophie Mutter & Daniel Müller-Schott at Barbican Hall – Piano Trios by Mozart, Previn & Mendelssohn

Piano Trio in B flat, K502
Trio No.1
Piano Trio No.1 in D minor, Op.49

André Previn (piano), Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin) & Daniel Müller-Schott (cello)

Reviewed by: Kevin Rogers

Reviewed: 20 February, 2012
Venue: Barbican Hall, London

André Previn. Photograph: A. P. MutterVenues! The Barbican Hall’s vastness is hardly ideal for a chamber recital, yet the numbers in the audience suggested otherwise: a smaller space would not have accommodated the many who wanted to hear this trio. André Previn was joined by ex-wife and continuing collaborator Anne-Sophie Mutter, and by friend Daniel Müller-Schott for this recital of old and new piano trios.

Daniel Müller-Schott. Photograph: Tom SpechtIn the Mozart the piano announces the themes and dominates proceedings. The players were subdued, knocked sideways perhaps by a number of errors. Matters settled though and the opening Allegro was delicately defined by Previn. Mutter found many moods from her instrument, and Müller-Schott provided able support. Previn was in his element during the Larghetto, transporting us to a tender place. The Allegretto finale was dispatched in sprightly fashion.

The sixteen minutes of Previn’s Trio No.1 (premiered at Carnegie Hall on 22 April 2009) took us on a splendid and varied journey. There was vigorous interplay to begin with; then the heartfelt invention of the middle movement, with its foreboding darkness, made us uneasy; and the finale’s restlessness propelled the work to its conclusion in breathless fashion. This is music that warrants repeated listening.

The highlight of the evening was a wonderful account of Mendelssohn’s First Piano Trio, full of exuberance and momentum, balances well-judged. It was lovely to hear the substantial piano part played with such finesse and probity, as well as Müller-Schott’s powerful instrument taking-up what Previn pitched: the physicality of the cellist’s playing kept energy held within a coiled spring, and held one’s breath. In the finale, grandeur and inevitability prevailed: a dynamic battle between musicians crowned this glorious achievement, honours deservedly shared.

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