Trio Dali reviewed in ArtsHub

Tomas Boot, artsHub
Friday, May 25, 2012

This critic often tries to find some sort of angle to explore when talking about the various concerts he submits to his review. Often he’ll comment on an eccentricity of a musician, or a quirk of a fellow audience member, or an entertaining piece of trivia where the music is concerned. But there was none of that at Musica Viva’s latest concert, featuring the French group Trio Dali, consisting of violinst Vineta Sareika, cellist Christian-Pierre La Marca, and pianist Amandine Savary. There were, however, flowers on stage – which there hadn’t been when Andreas Haefliger gave his recital under the aegis of the Sydney Symphony, but not being a botanist, or even botanically inclined, apart from buying the pretty things for the various people in one’s life, I have little to say about them. Not that one needed to look at the flowers at all during the evening, as listening to the beautiful music on offer got rid of any need for the other senses.

We began with Gordon Kerry’s Im Winde (Piano Trio no 2) from 2000. For those of you who don’t understand German, you may be inclined to think that the piece is a poorly punctuated statement of the relative flatulence of the composer compared to others, but, most unfortunately, this isn’t the case; rather the title translates to ‘In the Wind’, taken from a poem by the great German Romantic (according to Kerry in his program notes) Friedrich Holderlin. He quotes a section of the poem too: “Die Mauern stehn/Sprachlos und kalt, im Winde/Klirren die Fahnen,” (‘The walls stand/speechless and cold, and in the wind/the weathervanes clatter’) which Kerry takes to mean that the poet is describing a “sense of tears in all things”. And that is certainly what he has achieved in his work. The piece begins its life as something very brittle, and only later does it begin to warm up, though it never quite gets there, like trying to heat your hands by a fire while standing in a gale. Trio Dali were most successful when playing the quieter, more delicate moments, after a particularly warm section – the happy tension of all good quiet music was present, and was most welcome to this critic’s ears.

Next came Ravel’s Piano Trio in A minor, which was played with pure mastery by the Trio. The Ravel felt similar to the Kerry piece beforehand, if only because it seemed like what Im Winde would have been like if someone hadn’t thrown acid on the score – where Im Winde was concentrated bursts, the Ravel was much more lush. Again the players managed the quieter moments with great aplomb – the slowest movement (Passacaille (Tres large)) of the four in the trio being one of the highlights, which is always a good sign. Like all good pieces of this nature, one didn’t want any of the movements to end, and when it did, one was quite satisfied with life, humanity, and eternity. Dali’s ability to maintain the clarity of phrasing over extended periods was on show especially in this piece.

And yet, there was an interval, and Schubert’s Piano Trio no 2 in E flat major, op 100 was to come, and come it did, with all the advantages displayed by Trio Dali in the previous two pieces. While this critic preferred the Ravel, and indeed, would have been completely satisfied to leave the concert after it had finished, he was nonetheless struck by not only the immensity of the 45 minute work, but the coherence that the three musicians were able to give the piece as a whole, their rendition momentously sublime. The audience, wildly appreciative, demanded an encore, and the slow movement of Dvorak’s Dumky trio was played, again to much applause. Astounding.

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Welcome to Musica Viva’s International Concert Season blog. Here you can follow and read more about our wonderful touring artists.

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