Margaret Blades (violin), Michael Goldschlager (cello), Faith Maydwell (piano)
Robert Braham Auditorium, Trinity College
reviewed by Neville Cohn
This was chamber music programming with a difference. Instead of what one would normally have expected – two, perhaps three, complete works for piano trio – we were offered only one work in toto – Arensky’s Trio in D minor. This was played after the interval. But the first half, most unusually, consisted of a selection of movements from a number of trios by Mendelssohn, Brahms and Dvorak. The last mentioned was represented by movements 1, 2 and 6 from his famous Dumky Trio.
Of Brahms, I heard the opening movement of his Trio opus 9 (which I listened to with an ear pressed to a crack in the door as I arrived a few minutes after the concert began). As well, there was the andante con moto tranquillo from Mendelssohn’s Trio in D minor.
On paper, this would have seemed a recipe for muddled musicmaking – a bit of this, a bit of that. Sonic fruit salad. But it must be conceded that, despite these reservations, the compilation made for most pleasant listening, especially the Dumky movements, the mournful essence of which came across in a consistently meaningful way. A Mendelssohn movement was finely considered.
Chief focus of the afternoon, though – and the concert’s most rewarding listening – was an account of Arensky’s Piano Trio in D minor, its shifting moods a challenge which the players met with consistently musical finesse. Adding to the pleasure of the presentation were the impressively fine acoustics of the venue..
Visually, the Robert Braham Auditorium is a quite ordinary looking space but its acoustics make it special. I understand that expert opinion was sought to achieve this – and the result is impressive. And there’s also a first rate baby grand Fazioli piano at which Faith Maydwell was a consistently meaningful player. Apart from a need for rather more tonal presence from the violin, fine synchronisation, tempi choices that invariably sounded right – and excellent grasp of style – combined to provide musicmaking that gave a good deal of listening pleasure.
At this venue, on 2nd November at 2:30pm, Magellan presents a program of music from the 20th century and beyond – Ravel, Shostakovich, Martin and Kats-Chernin.