YCAT Lunchtime Concert at Wigmore Hall: Rhodes Piano Trio plays Haydn & Schumann

Piano Trio in E minor, Hob XV:12
Piano Trio No.3 in G minor, Op.110

Rhodes Piano Trio [Michael Gurevich (violin), David Edmonds (cello) & Robert Thompson (piano)]

Reviewed by: Ben Hogwood

Reviewed: 11 December, 2012
Venue: Wigmore Hall, London

Rhodes Piano Trio. Photograph: www.ycat.co.ukThe Rhodes Piano Trio was formed in 2003 and selected for representation by YCAT in 2010. A feature of the ensemble’s Wigmore Hall recitals has been the choice of Haydn for the opening work, and here the musicians opted for one of the composer’s darker such pieces. This performance stressed the rather stark texture at the beginning of the first movement, but the string-players seemed unsure of how much vibrato to use and when, which meant that some phrases were relatively bare, while others appeared warmer, if with some of the abundant melodic content confused in its delivery. There was however a genuine sense of intimacy between the players, and in the slow movement this was fully exploited. The finale lost its essential rhythmic profile initially, the pulse difficult to place, though this was in part due to the composer’s typically witty way with the theme. Once secure, the music proceeded with a smile.

Schumann’s G minor Piano Trio of 1851 is by some way the least performed of his three, due in part to its elusive nature. There were many good things in this performance, with an appropriate sense of nervy disquiet in the first and third movements, the latter in particular on edge with its slurred bowing from the strings. However the finale could have done with a much bigger lift and its marking – mit humor – was not often observed. Technically the players were excellent, listening to each other and closely observing dynamic markings, but the final pages, which celebrate an exuberant arrival in the major key, were curiously stilted and lacked a genuine feeling of closure.

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