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Haydn, Beethoven & Mendelssohn Piano Trios

Haydn Trio in C Hob XXVII
Beethoven Trio in D Op. 70 No. 1 (Ghost)
Mendelssohn Trio in D minor Op. 49
Haydn Trio in G Hob XXV (Gypsy Rondo)


City Music Society at Goldsmiths’ Hall London, 15 October 2009

This chamber concert exemplified the importance of venue and acoustics. Since the Lindsay String Quartet disbanded its leader Peter Cropper has been engaged in chamber music on many fronts. This trio has been working together for some two years, and will be giving Schubert at Kings Place tonight and contributing to a Mendelssohn week there next month.

I have had difficulty with Mendelssohn's piano trios - too many notes for the piano... But at Goldsmith's Hall, with judicious pedalling, it came across clearly but without making every note audible (as will happen at Kings Place) - more a wash of sound in which the gestures were prominent. Whatever, I enjoyed it there more than usually.

Beethoven's "Ghost" was introduced by David Cairns, President of the City Music Society and made its powerful and unique effect, brusque to begin, hauntingly evocative and unsettling in the slow movement (Beethoven was working at the time on a Macbeth opera which was abandoned).

Haydn trios (still not all as well known as their quality deserves) fore and aft denoted the 200th anniversary of the composer's death in 1809. The concert ended with a riotous unbuttoned account of the Gipsy Rondo; Peter Cropper's feet were tapping, and if the trio continues to end its concerts with it for the rest of this year (whether scheduled or as a perfect encore) he would do well to thrust his chair aside, stand and deliver as a real Gypsy fiddler !

The audience was decent in numbers but the magnificent Goldsmith's Hall was far from full; those of us who came were even more elderly than is usual at Wigmore Hall... A pity that there was not more take-up of the special offer for 8-22 year olds made available through Cavatina Chamber Music Trust.

Forthcoming concerts in the series during November include Wihan Quartet and Emma Kirkby with London Baroque; recommended.

Peter Grahame Woolf

Photo: Hanya Chlala