Review: Vienna Piano Trio

The Vienna Piano Trio.
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The Vienna Piano Trio.

Chamber Music New Zealand 

Vienna Piano Trio

Theatre Royal

Wednesday, October 21

Allan Purdy

What a thrill to have the Vienna Piano Trio giving a concert in New Plymouth, especially as I was in Vienna only a month ago enjoying the sights and sounds of that premier music city. Also, all three composers in the programme had strong connections with Vienna.

Beethoven's Piano Trio in E flat, written in Vienna in 1808, had all the adventurousness of this radically progressive composer.

Hugely contrasting dynamics and articulation and freedom from just "the notes on the page" made this a vitally living performance.

As with all top chamber musicians this ensemble had no constraints; Beethoven's compositional brilliance and their playing skills allowed them to shine as individuals and be a scintillating ensemble as well.

A leap of two hundred years to Fur Balint Andras Varga by contemporary Austrian, Johannes Maria Staud, brought quirky fragments of kaleidoscopically varying motifs.

String glissandi, unusual bowing and the use of piano sounds generated by plucking the strings and inserting objects between the strings made these ten short pieces a really novel adventure in contemporary composition.

Schubert's Piano Trio in E flat, written in the last year of his short life was fifty minutes of exquisitely constructed composition. This is Schubert on the grand scale, akin to his great Symphony No. 9.

The performance was delightfully fresh, every phrase and often every note was alive. Such sustained spontaneity was joy to the ear and belies the countless hours of rehearsal.

Every minute was interesting and exciting, but the Andante second movement really shone for me. Just when you think every ounce of development has been exhausted, yet another idea, or sideways slip into another key comes along.

Without in any way detracting from the genius of the composers, I have to say the Vienna Piano Trio's playing was the winner in this concert.

Allan Purdy

 - Stuff

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