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Florestan Trio

Anthony Marwood, Richard Lester & Susan Tomes

Beethoven 10 Variations in G, Op.121a (Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu)
Schubert Piano Trio in E flat, D929

Wigmore Hall, London 10 November 2002

The Wigmore Hall, which is enjoying a brilliant season, was packed to standing for both the Florestan Trio’s Sunday morning “Coffee Concert” and again at teatime for the Quatuor Mosaïques.

The Florestan is one of the most accomplished appearing before the public and their recording experience showed too in the immaculate performances of their two chosen works.The Beethoven is one of those joke works like Dohnányi’s Variations on a Nursery Theme, with a huge, portentous slow introduction that evaporates with the disclosure of a jaunty little theme. I felt that this latter was presented too brusquely and somehow lessened the humour.

Susan Tomes confessed that the massive Schubert trio – he seemed unable to let any idea go – was a tough assignment for a morning concert, but the Wigmore audience helped.Her contribution proved the most characterful – ever-alert, watching and listening to her colleagues to keep in perfect rapport.

There was however little of the playful give and take to make this performance unique in any way; one felt that their CD of it would probably sound just the same. We were all exhausted by the end and there was properly no encore before we retired for the coffee or sherry that is included. - -
(PGW - first published in Classical Source)

Beethoven Piano Trio in G op 1 no 2
Goehr Piano trio op 20
Tchaikovsky Piano Trio in A minor op 50

Wigmore Hall 5 January 2003

Well established as one of UK's finest piano trios, the Florestan Trio likes to take on challenges. They began with a sparkling account of the early Beethoven, unproblematic and delightful. Susan Tomes confessed that the setting out of Alexander Goehr's trio on the score posed whilst tremendous problems sorting it out at the learning stage. The first movement was easier to enjoy than the longer and more discursive second.

Tchaikovsky's massive trio, never a favourite of mine, ends with a long and taxing set of variations, on this occasion judiciously cut as convention has established.

In truth, this was overall a less satisfying concert than theirs reviewed at Cheltenham last July, and a recent Sunday Morning appearance at Wigmore Hall which ended with the exhilarating though daunting Trio in Eb of Schubert.

Susan Tomes is a thoughtful pianist and writer, now contributing regularly to the Guardian, where she published her account of how the Florestan Trio made their new disc of Schubert's great E flat trio - 'a test of musical sensivity, intellect and physical endurance' (A winter's journey by Susan Tomes, The Guardian)

Peter Grahame Woolf

(The Florestan Trio's recording of Schubert's Trio in E flat is released by Hyperion.)

Florestan Trio
Wigmore Hall 27 Sep 2006

Joseph Haydn: Piano Trio in E flat minor HXV:31
Antonín Dvorák: Piano Trio in G minor Op. 26
Franz Schubert: Piano Trio No. 1 in B flat D. 898

Superlatives seem to abound whenever the Florestan Trio appears, and this occasion was no exception. The well-filled Wigmore Hall was spell-bound in a well contrasted (though sadly revised) programme.

The Haydn trio opened with deceptively simple elegance, leading to his musical “Jacob's Ladder” in the second movement designed to catch out a less than proficient violinist - needless to say the artifice failed with Andrew Marwood, who made light of the complexity.

The Dvorak Trio was my favourite, bringing to mind visions of the string instruments hovering like a pair of exotic dragonflies whilst the piano emulated the silvery torrent of flowing stream, and I particularly enjoyed the exuberant dance tempo finale.

After the interval Schubert's trio started with expansive majestic calm, turning slightly wistful. The andante opened for cello and piano and the audience seemed genuinely transported to realms of delight. Atypically at this hallowed venue, I was distracted by people in seats behind me who whispered throughout and even used their mobile phone.

Serena Fenwick

Credit: Richard Lewisohn



© Peter Grahame Woolf