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Lucy Gould prefaced their performance of the Smetana Trio in G minor Op 15 with a few explanatory notes, commenting on the nature of the piece and the way that, in its elegiac aspects, it led the way for similar trios by later composers. But this was more than just a spoken programme note. Her enthusiasm for the music was apparent in every word. As for the performance itself, it was nothing less than thrilling. So much emotion is generated within this small-scale work, some nationalistic and patriotic, some personal, stemming from the death of the composer's daughter at the age of five. But even in the tenderest moments, there is no self-indulgence, nor even melancholy, as evidenced by the fact that there is no slow movement. This was a performance of dynamism, passion and total empathy: with the music and with each other. In fact, I'd venture to say you'd be hard pressed to hear better.

The concert was the last in the present series sponsored, in part, by Cwpan Aur, a group of five musical friends keen to promote the best in chamber music, all of them in the audience, and all no doubt delighted by what they heard. Another series is planned, which is good news for the denizens of Cardiff, especially as the Reardon Smith Theatre, which is attached to the National Museum of Wales, is the perfect venue, both acoustically and in terms of rapprochement between audience and performers.

The Gould Piano Trio
The Gould Piano Trio

But if you were not one of the hundred or so rapt people in the audience, all is not lost, for the Gould Trio have recorded both pieces, and they are available on a single CD. Admittedly, you'll have to forego the funny faces, but musically you should be in for a treat.

Copyright © 21 March 2003 Rex Harley, Cardiff, UK



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