Haydn: Piano Trio in G, Hob.XV:25 “Gypsy”
Mendelssohn: Piano Trio in D minor, Op.49
Koru Trio: Anne Loeser (violin), Sally Isaac (cello), Rachel Thomson (piano)
St. Andrew’s on The Terrace
Wednesday, 23 March 2016, 12:15pm
Here was a dream team – two string players from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and a pianist who has frequently played with the orchestra when a piano is required as part of the band.
The lively, tuneful Haydn trio, one of his best-known, is a delight to hear. However, a few glitches in intonation early on in the first movement (adagio), and the violin tone being rather too prominent in that movement detracted a little from its glorious melodies.
The sublime poco adagio slow movement revealed a lovely blend of the instruments, and beautifully varied dynamics. The rondo all’Ongarese finale featured, as indicated by the name, Hungarian folk music. These gypsies were very speedy and vigorous, and left a happy impression of their dancing.
Mendelssohn’s trio is much longer, and begins much more sombre in tone than that of the Haydn work. There is much for the piano to do in the first movement – and indeed, elsewhere. The cello was most distinguished here, with its gorgeous flowing theme, after the initial agitato, which returns. Later, all play the theme, with astonishing rippling passages from the piano. This molto allegro agitato movement is quite long, and very dramatic.
The second movement, andante con moto tranquillo, opens with piano only, playing a song-like theme, reminiscent, not least through its pensive quality, of the composer’s Songs without Words for piano solo. Variations upon the theme followed. In the scherzo: leggiero e vivace third movement there were indeed lightness and liveliness. The sprightly character put me in mind of some of the composer’s Midsummer Night’s Dream music. The music became more vociferous as it darted here and there, like so many little sprites.
The Finale: allegro assai appassionata was indeed passionate compare with the previous movement. Broad expanses of music, and greater use of the forte dynamic were features. What a plethora of themes and modulations Mendelssohn worked into this movement! The exciting finishing passages demanded considerable virtuosity from the players.
Prolonged applause greeted the end of the trio’s performance. This was a concert of fine music, from fine musicians