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Ensemble

STYLES OF OUR TIME

MALCOLM MILLER at the world première
of Stephen Dodgson's Trio No 3

 

Stylistic contrasts during artists' careers are often remarkable, displaying not only evolution, but also the essential, unchanging aspects of their creative personality. Such dialectical contrasts were highlighted in a superbly performed concert of music by Beethoven and Stephen Dodgson, given by the Bernard Roberts Piano Trio at London's Wigmore Hall, on 4 October 2001. The programme featured the world première of Dodgson's Trio No 3 as a centrepiece, preceded by his first trio, Diversions on an Air by Robert Jones (1601), composed thirty years earlier. These were framed by two of Beethoven's Piano Trios, the early C minor Trio Op 1 No 3 and the 'late'-middle period 'Ghost' Trio, Op 70, separated by some fifteen years.

Bernard Roberts is an ideal interpreter of both composers: he played the early Diversions in 1971 soon after its première and has recently recorded all six of Dodgson's Piano Sonatas, while he is also known as a Beethoven specialist. And despite the difference in generation and experience, there was unusually strong unanimity of ensemble and direction in this 'family trio', the pianist joined by his two sons Andrew, violin and Nicholas, cello.

Beethoven's C minor Trio was conveyed with both finesse and expression, and the textural interplay of the development in the first movement had a sense of purposeful drama and tension. The Andante cantabile was just that: lyrical yet also motivated, tastefully phrased at each curve and cadence. The measured delicacy of the Menuetto again procured the Classical stateliness and symmetry and Beethoven's witty edge, while the Prestissimo finale bristled with lucidity. Here, every note shone and the dynamism was sustained with alacrity.

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Copyright © 9 October 2001 Malcolm Miller, London, UK

 

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MORE ABOUT STEPHEN DODGSON

BEETHOVEN PIANO SOCIETY OF EUROPE

MALCOLM MILLER'S CLASSICAL MUSIC PROGRAMME NOTES

 

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