Tuesday, 20 October 2020

The piano trio and beyond at Conway Hall

Linos Piano Trio (Photo Kaupo Kikkas)
Linos Piano Trio (Photo Kaupo Kikkas)

Having given us the Mithras Trio in Haydn, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky [see my review], the Conway Hall Sunday Concerts series continues with further explorations of the piano trio in their live-streamed concerts, and for the first time this season the hall will also be welcoming a socially distanced live audience. 

Over three concerts (1/11/2020, 29/11/2020 and 13/12/2020) the Linos Piano Trio, Greenwich Trio and Rautio Piano Trio will perform music ranging from JS Bach and CPE Bach to Kaija Saariaho.

The Linos Piano Trio has recently released a disc of the complete piano trios by CPE Bach. Dating from a period when the genre was developing, these are works by a highly inventive composer, and the Linos Piano Trio will be performing one at their recital, alongside their own arrangement of Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 and Brahms' final Piano Trio in C. Brahms' wrote just three piano trios, though he seems to have sketched out a number of other works in the genre which he was dissatisfied with. The trio's final work will be Light and Matter by the contemporary Paris-based Finnish composer, Kaija Saariaho.

Brahms is currently the focus of the Greenwich Trio, as the group is recording the complete Brahm's Piano Trios. At Conway Hall, the group will be performing two trios originally written in different instrumentation. Brahms' Trio in A minor Op. 114, which was originally for clarinet, cello and piano and one of the group of late works inspired by the clarinet playing of Richard Muhlhausen, and the Trio in E flat Op. 40, originally for horn, violin and piano. Brahms allowed both works to be published in versions for piano trio as that was a highly popular and hence lucrative when published.

For the final concert, the Rautio Piano Trio are joined by Robin Ashwell (viola), and Leon Bosch (double bass) for a concert which moves from piano trio to piano quartet and to quintet. They open with Bach, arranged for piano trio, and then comes Schumann's Piano Quartet. Far less well known than the Piano Quintet and written the same year, 1842, Schumann's Piano Quartet is no less fine a work. The concert finishes with Schubert's Trout Quintet, written specifically for a patron who wanted a reference to Schubert's song and wanted an instrumental line up to match an existing work, hence the slightly unusual violin, viola, cello, piano, double bass. It is one of Schubert's most genial works.

As well as welcoming a socially-distanced audience, all the concerts are live-streamed, using Conway Hall's new state-of-the-art equipment. Full details from the Conway Hall website.

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