Last concert of the season a fitting finale

David Shavreen reviews the latest presentation of Blenheim Concerts

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The last concert of the Sixteenth Season was given by Trilogy, formerly the Crossland Piano Trio. What a finale this proved to be! Here were musicians intent on putting their personal stamp on the afternoon’s music-making both through the vigour and enthusiasm which they brought to their playing and by their choice of music.

They avoided the standard repertoire and offered less well-known pieces, but pieces which they clearly loved and which deserved the meticulous preparation that resulted in performances to send a shiver of appreciation down the spine of the listener. They began with a delightful set of Miniatures by Frank Bridge who made affectionate pastiches of well-loved forms from past ages, showing his mastery of rhythm, sonority and mood. This was followed by a Trio of Clara Schumann’s a lovely piece with more than a hint of that elegant style of Romanticism which is associated with her husband Robert Schumann, Chopin and Mendelssohn.

Trilogy has always championed the work of modern composers and Esteban Benzecry appeared next on the programme. We were told that he was born in the Argentine but had lived in Paris for many years. There certainly was a decidedly French flavour to this work, the opening movement of which paid tribute to Debussy and Ravel, conveying impressions of early morning mist in a noisy forest where birds and insects provided the dawn chorus. Such impressionistic movements do lend themselves to such imaginative interpretation, and certainly there was a flavour of the Douanier Rousseau in the scene-painting, especially in the final Toccata where South American dance rhythms predominated.

The concert ended with Mendelssohn’s splendid Trio No.1 in D minor, aptly described as one of the greatest of all Trios. But Mendelssohn has not always been fully appreciated. Percy Scholes said of him “His music Is charmingly written but never very deep" The performance we heard of this great work, with its extraordinary range of emotion delivered with such intelligence and musicality, clearly gave the lie to such a judgement A wonderful afternoon and a most exciting Trio.

David Shavreen

November 26, 2003

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