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Gould Piano Trio
Wigmore Hall 26 Feb 2006 Coffee Concert 11.30 AM

Sergey Rachmaninov: Trio élégiaque No. 1 in G minor Op. posth
Johannes Brahms: Piano Trio No. 3 in C minor Op. 101
Dmitri Shostakovich Piano Trio No 2 Op 67


Lucy Gould - violin
Alice Neary - cello
Benjamin Frith - piano


Yesterday's Coffee Concert (alternatively sherry afterwards!) brought a full house to hear a substantial morning programme, which was interesting for its juxtapositions of idioms. The pianist composer Rachmaninov's own instrument dominates the Trio élégiaque unashamedly and Benjamin Frith, though well able to offer quiet, delicate embroidery when clearly required, tended to be heavy handed too often. This was even more noticeable in the densely scored Brahms trio, decently performed but not perceptively enough to encourage purchase of their first CD of Brahms Trios; the next is due for release shortly.


In that context Shostakovich's trio was revelatory. Starting and ending quietly, those of us who have known it for the six decades of its concert life will never forget the eeriness of the beginning, with stratospheric cello harmonics far above the violin which joins with the piano to make a trio sound of arresting originality. Just once Alice Neary reminded us momentarily of human fragility which is nowadays eliminated by digital recording. Earlier balance problems in the recital vanished, leaving us engrossed with Shostakovich's unerring skill in prescribing on paper the exact sound he envisaged. The Goulds traversed the full range of emotion in this trio, well established as a key work in the genre now and for the foreseeable future.


This Sunday series is a runaway success in London's musical life, regularly attracting capacity audiences with a queue for returns, despite the vagaries of the Capital's weekend transport uncertainties (because of maintenance work and signal failures we were turned out of two trains on the return journey and had to devise a completely different route to get home eventually!).


See also: http://www.musicweb.uk.net/SandH/2002/May02/gould.htm

Photo Credit: Don Hunstein

© Peter Grahame Woolf