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Drama and Sonority

The Rosamunde Trio plays
Dvorák, Fribbins and Beethoven,
reviewed by BILL NEWMAN


Dvorák: Piano Trio in F minor, Op 65

This sweeping and challenging work was composed in 1883, a year after the death of Dvorák's mother. In 1875 Brahms had recommended him for a grant from the Austrian State Commission and for Simrock to publish his music. Brahmsian in its scoring and scope it came to fruition in the same period as the Scherzo Capriccioso and the Symphony 7 in D minor.

The Rosamunde Trio [Martino Tirimo, piano; Ben Sayevich, violin; Daniel Veis, cello; Sunday 11 March 2007, Wigmore Hall, London UK] gave a stirring, heart-felt performance, even finer than their distinguished account at London's Conway Hall. Note the drama and sonority of the opening movement with its intricate scoring and widely spaced intervals. The typically Czech theme of the second Allegro grazioso movement was matched by the slow, Poco Adagio third movement where the solo violin and cello had much opportunity to shine forth. The exciting Finale is based on a Bohemian folk dance (compare with the Op 54 waltzes). Again, key changes produce their own aura, brilliance and poetic feeling before the musical thread sinks down prior to the dramatic ending.

Peter Fribbins (born 1969): 'Softly, in the dusk ...' (circa 2006-7)

The world première of this single movement work was especially commissioned by the Rosumunde Trio for their concert and is based on D H Lawrence's short poem:

Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
a child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
and pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.

In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
betrays me back till the heart of me weeps to belong
to the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.

So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like of a child for the past.

It is difficult to assess this attractive, impressionist work after one hearing. The unusual chordings impress, and it may be cyclic in part.

Beethoven: Piano Trio in B flat, Op 97, Archduke

Simple as it may appear on the printed score, this is one of the composer's towering masterpieces. The magnificent balance between piano and strings allowed respective players to shine out. Choice of tempi were overall perfect, the pianist allowing his tone to depreciate in pizzicato passages and duet sections. The humour in the scherzo movement was a delight, with the long Andante cantabile (third) and Allegro moderato (fourth) quite memorable.

Copyright © 21 April 2007 Bill Newman, Edgware UK




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