Rosamunde Trio at Kings Place [Shostakovich, Beethoven & Smetana]

Piano Trio No.1 in C minor, Op.8
Piano Trio in C minor, Op.1/3
Piano Trio in G minor, Op.15

Rosamunde Trio [Martino Tirimo (piano), Ben Sayevich (violin) & Daniel Veis (cello)]

Reviewed by: Edward Clark

Reviewed: 6 March, 2011
Venue: Hall One, Kings Place, London

Rosamunde Trio. Photograph: (c)Martino TirimoThe Rosamunde Trio is always a welcome visitor to the London Chamber Music Series of concerts in Kings Place. For this recital the less-familiar work was by the young Shostakovich whose Piano Trio No.1 was written at the age of sixteen. It is a decidedly odd work, short and in one movement. Combining both calm and turbulent elements the music’s ideas keep reappearing in seemingly unmodified form. This makes it simple to grasp but unconventional nevertheless.

Where the players were dignified in the face of questing change, they embarked on early Beethoven with the right degree of classical refinement befitting a musical mind under the influence of the great Haydn. The Minuet is surely the pick of the movements, delightful and delectable.

However it was Smetana’s Piano Trio that was the stunning highlight of the evening. Smetana was imbued with a true Romantic spirit both as a person and a musician. Caught up with the Bohemian nationalist movement he fought against the occupying Austrian regime. On the losing side he exiled himself to Sweden for six years before returning to his homeland to write “The Bartered Bride”. He was clearly a man guided by his emotions and no more so than in this piano trio, written soon after the death of his four-year-old daughter. This is a wilder, more uninhibited masterpiece than anything produced in the more ordered fashion of his Austro-German contemporaries, a long, tempestuous work deeply mired in sadness and inner conflict. The Rosamunde Trio gave full vent to these emotions.

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