REVIEW: Piano trio hits the spot at Ardingly College

Gould Piano Trio. Picture by Chris Stock
Gould Piano Trio. Picture by Chris Stock
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Gould Piano Trio, Ardingly College, March 17

Following on from the fine Allegri Quartet concert last year, Music@Ardingly continued its chamber music theme this year on Tuesday, March 17, with a concert by the outstanding Gould Piano Trio.

The combination of violin, cello and piano has inspired composers to produce some of their finest music, fully demonstrated here by the wonderful performances of three great trios by Brahms, MacMillan and Tchaikovsky.

Their concert was launched with Brahms’ powerfully arresting Trio in C minor, a work encompassing a wide range of romantic emotions.

The opening movement began with dramatic gestures and hammering rhythms, and the Goulds immediately caught the passion and strength of this wonderful music.

The Gould Trio gave the world premiere of James MacMillan’s Piano Trio No 2 last year, and it was superb that it was performed here in the presence of the composer.

It is written in one, through-composed movement, and like the Brahms juxtaposes a fascinating and compelling series of moods, ranging from hectic, almost violent sections, to a rollicking, clownish ‘music hall’ idea.

The performance was given the greatest possible advocacy by the Goulds and was mesmerising in an almost visual way, with its range of musical colours and shades of light.

After the interval the Goulds performed one of the most epic trios in the repertoire, Tchaikovsky’s Trio in A minor. Inspired by the death of his good friend Nikolai Rubinstein, a renowned pianist, the work is inscribed ‘In Memory of a Great Man’.

This is no doubt the reason the work is so emotional and elegiac.

It received a performance of the greatest sensitivity and virtuosity by the Goulds, a great example of the unique power of live music making.