BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Recital at Wigmore Hall – Amatis Piano Trio – Haydn & Mendelssohn

Piano Trio in E, Hob.XV/28
Piano Trio No.1 in D-minor, Op.49

Amatis Piano Trio [Mengjie Han (piano), Lea Hausmann (violin) & Samuel Shepherd (cello)]

Reviewed by: Barnaby Page

Reviewed: 25 September, 2017
Venue: Wigmore Hall, London

Amatis Piano TrioPhotograph: Marco BorggreveNot too many years separate the Haydn and Mendelssohn which the Amatis Piano Trio gave us at Wigmore Hall – indeed it is slightly odd to reflect that the composers’ lives overlap, albeit only by a few months – but they’re a startlingly different pair.

The Haydn is very much about the piano and sometimes the violin; hardly the cello at all. That is evident from the beginning of the first movement but most obvious in the strange second, with its long spooky solo and then the somewhat Bachian effect when the strings do arrive. If it is, then, not the best work to show off the balanced musicality of the Amatis Piano Trio – its members’ interaction and use of dynamics outstanding – it certainly offered a showcase for Mengjie Han and to a lesser extent Lea Hausmann.

Things are much more democratic in the Mendelssohn and there was more on show from Samuel Shepherd; the first movement was a highlight, alternately thunderous and sweet. But there was much appeal elsewhere, especially the calmly beautiful Andante, and also the encore – ‘Summer’ from Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, played with just the dark verve that tango demands.

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