The Aquinas Trio plays
Haydn, Ravel and Saint-Saëns,
heard by MIKE WHEELER
Not content with being one half of the Iuventus Quartet, violinist Ruth Rogers and cellist Katherine Jenkinson have also formed a trio with pianist Martin Cousin. This was the group's Midlands region début (The VoiceBox, Derby, UK, 15 December 2008).
The opening movement of Haydn's 'Gypsy Rondo' Trio was both lively and graceful. The players found a nice flowing tempo for the second movement, and attacked the rondo finale itself with tremendous gusto.
There was both vigour and delicacy in the first movement of the Ravel Trio, and needle-sharp precision in the scherzo, while the overall arc of the Passacaille third movement was nicely shaped.
Saint-Saëns' Trio No 2 was a refreshingly enterprising choice for the final work. With its five-movement structure (although the programme only listed four of them, in the wrong order), including one in quintuple time, it's a fascinating blend of the traditional and the exploratory. The Aquinas Trio brought clarity to the first movement, found the elegance in the fourth movement's waltz rhythms, and dispatched the fugue at the heart of the finale with great agility.
In all three works the trio showed a remarkable unanimity at turning corners. The only downside was a tendency for climaxes to be unduly thunderous, a matter of misjudging the acoustic of a small, intimate space, mainly on the part of the pianist.
Copyright © 20 December 2008
Mike Wheeler, Derby UK