Much to applaud
MALCOLM MILLER reports on
an impressive array of talent at the
BPSE Beethoven Chamber Music Competition 2005
There was an impressive array of talented trios at the BPSE Beethoven Chamber Music Competition 2005, with four ensembles competing for the Gwyneth George Prize in an enthralling evening of Beethoven trios on 5 May at Steinway Hall, Marylebone Lane, London UK. The competition, which is an annual event open to various different ensembles with piano, took place before a select audience and in the presence of Gwyneth George, the distinguished cellist. The jury was led by Professor Bernard Roberts, the eminent pianist and teacher, and also included Nancy Lee Harper, President of EPTA Portugal and Alberto Portugheis, BPSE Vice-Chairman UK and the event organiser. The select audience was regaled with performances of the two original versions of the trio in B flat Op 11, the first with violin, cello and piano and the second with clarinet. Also performed was the Ghost trio Op 70 No 1, and as a climax the Archduke trio Op 97. The challenges of all the works were the topic of two days of masterclasses with Bernard Roberts, in which he shared his great experience of performing Beethoven's chamber works with the gifted young players. The final concert showed the fruits of his teaching and, as Professor Roberts also pointed out in his detailed and helpful adjudication, signalled the necessary paths of development for each of the ensembles.
There was much to applaud in all the performances: an admirable account of Op 11 was given by James Young, piano, Sophie Appleton, violin and Charlotte Forsey, cello, who are students or former students at the RCM and Guildhall. The clarinet version was performed with aplomb and fresh clarity by Peter Limonov, piano, Denitsa Laffchieva, clarinet and Sagi Hartov, cello, current and recent postgraduates at the Royal Academy of Music. Their rich sonority and crystalline articulation was impressive. Especially evocative was the rendition of the Ghost Trio by Trio Evocare, Marie Lee Gustafsson, piano, Anna Cashell, violin and Andrew Joyce, cello. Yet it was the Bomond Trio, Jesse Bomond, piano, Tomoko Sasaki, violin and Galiasker Bigashev, cello, who received first prize for their powerful performance of the Archduke Trio, with some riveting textures and exciting rhythmic impetus in the fast movements and a sumptuously expressive slow movement. All three players are postgraduate students at Trinity College of Music and while they have played together only since March, Professor Roberts commended their cohesive and integrated ensemble.