Dvorák, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky
from the Burlington Piano Trio,
by MIKE WHEELER
The piano trio has the reputation of being a difficult medium in terms of balance, which is no doubt why so few composers after Beethoven had more than one or two stabs at it. Among those who did was Dvorák, whose G minor Piano Trio, Op 23, opened the concert by the Burlington Trio -- Rebecca Hirsch, violin, Jonathan Williams, cello and Richard Markham, piano (Derby Chamber Music, Multi-Faith Centre, Derby University, Derby, UK, 7 December 2007). So sensitively attuned are the group's members to each other's playing that balance was rarely, if ever, a problem. The first movement's emotional ebb and flow was finely controlled, while there was a winning dance-like energy to the finale.
Shostakovich's First Trio is a student work, only published eight years after his death. Here the players were adept at pointing up the contrasts between satirical high spirits and a vein of romantic warmth that would only later be diverted into the mature composer's starker, more anguished kind of lyricism.
Tchaikovsky's A minor Trio has had something of an unenthusiastic press from some quarters, but in a performance as committed as this it can be a compelling experience. The dramatic tension in the first movement was expertly shaped, and the players strongly characterised the individual variations in the second movement, finding a touch of humour in the lightness of variation 6 and realising the elegiac quality of No 9 without being over-indulgent.
Copyright © 29 December 2007
Mike Wheeler, Derby UK