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<<  -- 2 --  Andrew Campling    CELEBRATION AND DESOLATION


After the interval Ravel's Sonata for Violin and Cello (1922), performed with great skill and conviction by Christopher White and Jonas Seeberg, brought us rapidly into the 20th Century. The jazzy, flowing first movement made way for a stunning allegro: pizzicato ostinati, Spanish dance rhythms, dramatic passion to the fore. The desolate opening of the third movement offered hints of greater darkness to come.

And so to the evening's highlight: Shostakovich's extaordinary Trio No 2 in E minor (1944) -- an epic challenge risen to magnificently by the players. No hint now of drawing room (or ecclesiastical) sobriety -- this is music conceived in sorrow and angst, haunted by humanitarian concern. Dedicated to Shostakovich's deceased friend Ivan Sollertinsky, the opening section with cello muted in its highest register expresses an overwhelming sense of grief. A sardonic Scherzo follows, then a funereal passacaglia set in motion by 'wrong-note' chords on piano. In the finale a macabre dance speaks of the composer's anger at the appalling atrocities of war, RefAid's raison d'etre writ large. Once again a riveting performance by the musicians. These players are melismatic, but passionate with it!

So an evening of contrasts. London's East End has known much celebration and not a little desolation. Here at St Dunstan's we had a concert which gave true weight to both sides of the coin -- an event to remember. The concert was repeated by Trio Melisma at Zurich's Tonhalle on 6 June. One eagerly awaits the Trio's next performance in London.

Copyright © 19 July 2002 Andrew Campling, London, UK


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