Morgenstern Trio & Christopher Moore reviewed in West Australian
Unanimity of thought and action
Neville Cohn, West Australian
22 April 2013
From first note to last, an account by the visiting Germany-based Morgenstern Trio and Australian violist Christopher Moore of Mahler’s one-movement Piano Quartet was presented with such understanding of mood and tonal colouring that it sounded more like a form of communion between musicians and composer than mere communication between players and audience.
This happens only very rarely and is all the more significant for that. As ever, on hearing this engaging music, one marvelled at the creative maturity of Mahler who wrote it while still a student in his mid-teens.
Such was the unanimity of thought and action in evidence throughout the evening, that one sensed that these extraordinarily gifted players were drawing on a shared musical consciousness. This was abundantly apparent, too, in Beethoven’s Trio in E flat, opus 70 no 2. Unlike the often athletic writing of opus 70 no 1 (the so-called “Ghost Trio”), opus 70 no 2 is couched in gently reflective, almost introverted, terms. Its subtle essence was captured by the players like a moth in the gentlest of hands. I savoured every moment.
More, perhaps, than any other Australian composer, Ross Edwards’ music bears so unmistakable a musical fingerprint, that its style is instantly recognisable. The Morgenstern players did his Piano Trio proud. In the opening allegretto, Emanuel Wehse’s cello line was like a stream of golden tone. The central meditative movement was a little miracle of expressive warmth that was a perfect lead-in to a finale informed by an insouciance that sounded right.
In 1842, Robert Schumann felt overshadowed by the increasing celebrity of his famous pianist wife, Clara. He sank into a deep depression, exacerbated by sessions of heavy drinking. Despite this, Schumann succeeded in producing a stream of inspired chamber music that year, including the Piano Quartet in E flat.
Notwithstanding some occasionally too-emphatic piano playing in the third movement, the musicians shaped to the music like finest claret to a goblet. I particularly admired the second movement and a scintillating, ultra-nimble finale that prompted a thoroughly deserved ovation.
This first-rate concert deserved a much bigger audience.