Rosamunde Trio

Piano Trio in F minor, Op.65
‘Softly, in the dusk…’ [World premiere]
Piano Trio in B flat, Op.97 (Archduke)

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

Reviewed by: Edward Clark

Reviewed: 11 March, 2007
Venue: Wigmore Hall, London

The Rosamunde Trio has been performing since 2002 and it is good news that it is now commissioning new works, one of which was premièred at this concert, ‘Softly, in the dusk…’ by Peter Fribbins. The Rosamunde Trio is comprised of three notable soloists but the collegiate spirit of their playing creates a wonderfully homogenous sound that is prompted as much by the maturity of the performers as the complete lack of egotistical utterances associated with so many solo artists.

Two masterworks of the repertoire framed the première by Fribbins and it is to the latter’s credit that the lyrical inspiration that lies at the heart of Dvořák’s F minor trio was not totally disrupted by any modernist tendencies in the new work. Indeed Fribbins showed estimable attributes, namely a melodic impulse and a concise framework resulting in a plausible ten-minute span of uninterrupted music.

Fribbins has made a habit of choosing literary themes for his chamber works and ‘Softly, in the dusk…’ is his response to a short poem by D.H. Lawrence entitled “Piano”. If it was a little disconcerting to reflect that the main theme could have been written by Dvořák, the work has its own integrity and impulse that should ensure its place in the piano trio repertoire.

The F minor Piano Trio of the Czech master is a big, ambitious work. In his finest chamber works, Dvořák is freed from his symphonic shadows of Wagner and Brahms; this trio displays a profound love for pure melodic inspiration. It contains themes of great poignancy and intensity, and the craftsmanship displayed in each of the four movements shows Dvořák at his very best.

The Rosamunde Trio began with an impassioned statement of the opening idea and continued with a true sense for the lyrical beauties contained in the music. This is a long work that could drag in the wrong hands but, here, even at the close there was regret that the magnificence of Dvořák’s inspiration had to come to an end.

Likewise the playing of Beethoven’s crowning glory for the piano trio medium, his ‘Archduke’ trio, conjured up a sense of unalloyed joy. The Rosamunde Trio avoids unnecessary exaggeration and consequently Beethoven’s view of an almost epic grandeur produced a sophisticated and entirely musical response.

The only questionable event of the evening was the somewhat illogical choice of encore – the scherzo from Shostakovich’s Second Piano Trio, which disturbed the sense of lyricism that lay at the heart of this concert.

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