Home Concert Reviews
Concert Reviews PDF Print E-mail

Wigmore Hall, London

“The Rosamunde Trio has been performing since 2002 and it is good news that it is now commissioning new works, one of which was premièred at this concert, ‘Softly, in the dusk…’ by Peter Fribbins. The Rosamunde Trio is comprised of three notable soloists but the collegiate spirit of their playing creates a wonderfully homogenous sound that is prompted as much by the maturity of the performers as the complete lack of egotistical utterances associated with so many solo artists.

Two masterworks of the repertoire framed the première by Fribbins and it is to the latter’s credit that the lyrical inspiration that lies at the heart of Dvořák’s F minor trio was not totally disrupted by any modernist tendencies in the new work. Indeed Fribbins showed estimable attributes, namely a melodic impulse and a concise framework resulting in a plausible ten-minute span of uninterrupted music. Fribbins has made a habit of choosing literary themes for his chamber works and ‘Softly, in the dusk…’ is his response to a short poem by D.H. Lawrence entitled “Piano”. If it was a little disconcerting to reflect that the main theme could have been written by Dvořák, the work has its own integrity and impulse that should ensure its place in the piano trio repertoire.

The F minor Piano Trio of the Czech master is a big, ambitious work. In his finest chamber works, Dvořák is freed from his symphonic shadows of Wagner and Brahms; this trio displays a profound love for pure melodic inspiration. It contains themes of great poignancy and intensity, and the craftsmanship displayed in each of the four movements shows Dvořák at his very best.

The Rosamunde Trio began with an impassioned statement of the opening idea and continued with a true sense for the lyrical beauties contained in the music. This is a long work that could drag in the wrong hands but, here, even at the close there was regret that the magnificence of Dvořák’s inspiration had to come to an end.

Likewise the playing of Beethoven’s crowning glory for the piano trio medium, his ‘Archduke’ trio, conjured up a sense of unalloyed joy. The Rosamunde Trio avoids unnecessary exaggeration and consequently Beethoven’s view of an almost epic grandeur produced a sophisticated and entirely musical response”.

“The members of the Rosamunde Trio are world-class soloists in their own right and gave a clear and moving account of all three works. …The brilliance and clarity with which Tirimo played the virtuosic runs was breathtaking. In the encore [the Scherzo from Shostakovich’s second piano Trio], the players fully attacked the music with a relentlessly manic vigour, bringing the concert to an exciting conclusion”.

Conway Hall, London
“[The Rosamunde Trio is…] a thing to cherish…one of the finest around. Already I am firmly convinced that this Trio will hold their heads high, by conveying music's truths and delights to their mass audiences”.

“Schubert’s Trio in B flat D898 demonstrated the true capabilities of this Trio, exuding a rich warm sound, very tight ensemble and above all a continuous underlying rhythmic power and strength. Martino Tirimo is recognized as a remarkable interpreter of Schubert’s solo piano music and inspired his two colleagues in a memorable performance”.

Kings Place, London

This [Schubert Trio in B flat] was quite plainly inspired from start to finish. Drama and poetry was matched by the mere suggestions of rubato and the sheer ebullience of Vienna in all its glory and passion in those days of yore. Shivers of emotional approval and love for every single bar gradually appeared on people's faces. The most perfect of performances!

Blake Theatre, Monmouth

'It comes as no surprise that the Rosamunde Trio occupies a unique position in the chamber music community, comprised as it is of three of the world’s leading soloists all of whom share a singular unanimity of purpose and who selflessly tread a path of musical truth and unhysterical excellence. Martino Tirimo has always been a pianist of such incomparable musical depth and unswerving musical honesty across an enormous wide ranging repertoire that he is one of the only living musicians to compare with such greats as Arrau, Backhaus and Solomon. In the distinguished company of leading Lithuanian violinist Ben Sayevich and world class Czech ‘cellist Daniel Veis, the Trio perform giving the astonishing impression that one is listening to a single musical unit.

The Trio triumphantly traversed some of the alpine peaks of the repertoire with a calm, dignified and undemonstrative grandeur and authority. An ensemble of an almost Swiss clock precision was immediately established in Brahms' monumental B major trio. I cannot recall forty minutes passing so rapidly. Here there was a symphonic weight redolent of Klemperer with all three musicians remarkably giving the impression of the entire string section of the Berlin Philharmonic – not at all an easy thing to accomplish – but, as throughout the performance, made possible by Tirimo's uniquely beautiful sound which blends seamlessly with that of his colleagues.

After the interval, Smetana's grief induced G minor trio plumbed the very depths of despair and for once completely avoided the often heard palm court parody of itself by the sheer virtuosity and outstanding musicianship of the players. The Zigeuner violin elements of the first movement were delivered with an unparalleled and genuinely unshowy pathos by Sayevich. The finale of Dovrak's Dumky Trio was the soulful yet rousing encore and deservedly received a vociferous ovation".


Detmold Concert Hall, Germany

Rosamunde Trio gives expressive master-concert in the Detmold Concert Hall

The Rosamunde Trio performed with a unique musical temperament in the Concert Hall on Tuesday. It was the third in the ‘Meisterkonzert’ series at the University for Music.

Normally the listener gets a little confused by Antonin Dvorak’s ‘Dumky’ Trio Op.90: is it melancholy or love of life that speaks from the heart of the composer? Or both? After a quiet, almost coaxing beginning, the Rosamunde evokes the notes with an exuberant and sultry, infectious energy. Martino Tirimo, Ben Sayevich and Daniel Veis are hard to stop in the fast, happy dancing major passages – but then they do slow down in time for the soft, elegiac notes. Subsequently they play impulsively to a furious finale.

And then they rise, bow and seem to be very caught up within the storm of applause of the packed concert hall. One could also call it balanced: the musicians placed contrasts like melancholy and exuberance next to each other, not against each other.

Previous to this seemingly ambivalent playing with all its changes in tempo and mood, they played the Schubert B flat major Trio (D898). At the piano Martino Tirimo interwove the lyrical and lively passages in a wonderfully light manner. The pianist is renowned within the music world for his interpretation of Schubert. Violinist Ben Sayevich performs regularly in the USA, Europe and Asia and is a sought-after chamber musician partner. Daniel Veis is one of the leading Czech cellists. Since 2002 the members of the Rosamunde Trio have played together, performing with famous orchestras and travelling the world for their concerts.

Their performance of the piece ‘Softly in the dusk’ by the English composer Peter Fribbins made their programme a lyrical journey: the piece, commissioned for the Rosamunde Trio in 2007, is based on a poem by David Herbert Lawrence and depicts the view of a man longing for his childhood when his mother sang for him and he spent Sunday evenings with the family at the piano. “The tinkling piano our guide” is a line from the poem, and Martino Tirimo expresses the role of the resounding piano as the focus of family-gathering in a wonderfully poetic way: tense, meditative and glassy-sounding notes brought the childhood to life. A resounding memory. (cd)


Other Reviews

Kings Place, London

Shostakovich Piano Trio No 1 Op. 8
Beethoven Piano Trio Op.1 No. 3
Smetana Piano Trio Op.15

Rosamunde Trio
Martino Tirimo piano
Ben Sayevich violin
Daniel Veis cello

London Chamber Music Series
Hall One
Kings Place, London
Sunday 6 March 2011 6.30pm
Review by Edward Clark

The Rosamunde Trio is always a welcome visitor to the London Chamber Music Series of concerts in Kings Place. For this recital the less-familiar work was by the young Shostakovich whose Piano Trio No.1 was written at the age of sixteen. It is a decidedly odd work, short and in one movement. Combining both calm and turbulent elements the music’s ideas keep reappearing in seemingly unmodified form. This makes it simple to grasp but unconventional nevertheless.

Where the players were dignified in the face of questing change, they embarked on early Beethoven with the right degree of classical refinement befitting a musical mind under the influence of the great Haydn. The Minuet is surely the pick of the movements, delightful and delectable.

However it was Smetana’s Piano Trio that was the stunning highlight of the evening. Smetana was imbued with a true Romantic spirit both as a person and a musician. Caught up with the Bohemian nationalist movement he fought against the occupying Austrian regime. On the losing side he exiled himself to Sweden for six years before returning to his homeland to write “The Bartered Bride”. He was clearly a man guided by his emotions and no more so than in this piano trio, written soon after the death of his four-year-old daughter. This is a wilder, more uninhibited masterpiece than anything produced in the more ordered fashion of his Austro-German contemporaries, a long, tempestuous work deeply mired in sadness and inner conflict. The Rosamunde Trio gave full vent to these emotions.


The Rosamunde Trio at Kings Place
Sunday, 6th March at 6.30pm.
Shostakovich, Beethoven and Smetana.

The title confirms pianist Martino Tirimo’s opinion, following my fulsome praise of their latest London appearance, presented in partnership with the London Chamber Music Society. The Trio’s superb performances can be heard at their favourite Kings Place venue, a 5-10 minute walk up York Way, parallel to St. Pancras Station. The stunningly designed, modern and acoustically perfect building contains two concert halls, where wooden surrounds afford listeners the greatest satisfaction. Seated in luxuriant comfort in Hall One, you just lean back and allow the wonderfully balanced sound to waft into your ear drums over an approximately 90 minutes period, from expert performers who know and understand all the interpretative secrets of great music.

I have followed the Rosamunde Trio since its inception, and a recent engagement includes a concert at the Czech Philharmonic’s series at Prague’s Rudolfinum, and the start of a series that will feature all of Beethoven’s Trios. Cellist, Daniel Veis is also of Czech origin, and he and Martino have performed and recorded for more than 25 years. Violinist, Ben Sayevich, has been recently blessed with the birth of a baby daughter, Margarita, and I immediately noticed – from his very opening entry, that he also possesses a new ‘old and valuable’ violin of the maker Carlo Giuseppe Testore 1660-1720 , born in Novara, a pupil of Grancino. The tone and vibrato are just beautiful!

The rarely performed Shostakovich student work, Piano Trio No.1 in C minor, Op,8, Poeme, began the programme, It dates from 1923, and the composer was just 16, studying at Petrograd – now the St Petersburg Conservatoire. His father had passed away the year before, and the young Dmitri was anxious to join the Moscow Conservatoire, but owing to contracting tuberculosis, plus his mother’s intervention, any positive ideas in that direction fell through. Undaunted, the young composer persevered: you can just imagine the scenario with he and two friends rehearsing in a cinema. Although the solitary movement bears no comparison to the later, mature Piano Trio 2, there are feelings of sadness here, akin to the music of Myaskovsky, whose mythical-sounding symphonic works were to make such an impression on late romanticism, so much a part of Soviet soulfulness. The players’ poignant reading set the atmosphere perfectly.

What a contrast to the last of Beethoven’s Three Piano Trios – in C minor, Op.1, dedicated to the ever-faithful Prince Carl von Lichnowsky. For some misunderstood reason, Haydn, who was present at the premiere, was reported to be somewhat concerned at the work’s ‘modernistic’ tendencies, so the prematurely deaf composer withdrew it, and a rupture in the relationship between both composers set in that just avoided dire consequences. Beethoven, however, was spurred into activity, and this work – the most brilliant and reactionary of the three in concept, is a near masterpiece.
It was given a tremendous performance full of verve, daring and improvisatory skill. The finale nearly took the roof off this magnificent hall!

Smetana, with his love and admiration for Beethoven – you can clearly recognize the ad lib representation of thematic motives of previous material in the last movement, compared to the opening stanzas of the long introduction to the older composer’s Choral Symphony finale. It shines out in resplendent fashion during his only Piano Trio in G minor, Op 15, written in 1855. I can still visualize, in my mind, that magnificent painting in the Town Hall, Prague, with Smetana playing the piano
to an adoring audience. The whole of the Trio balances feelings of originality, poetry and bravura over a span of 25 minutes. In comparison, only Dvorak’s F minor Trio, Op.65 competes. An inspired evening’s entertainment.


Rosamunde Trio
Kendal Town Hall

Kendal Midday Concert Club’s recent recital convinced me that advancing years have much more to offer than free bus passes and prescriptions.

My spirits rose with the appearance of three elegantly attired gentlemen. Today’s top young musicians certainly possess techniques to die for; they display remarkable musicianship; they have flair; they take risks and produce stunning performances.

But they cannot have experienced life as have many of our older musicians, like the elegant Rosamunde Trio. Each player possesses all the musical attributes mentioned above; their playing, though, reflects their maturity and has a resultant refinement and poise.

During Beethoven’s Piano Trio Op. 1 No.3 beauty of tone, balance, phrasing and textural clarity were constantly on display; the performance was an absolute joy. Smetana’s emotionally charged Piano Trio Op.15 was authoritatively played with perfection of ensemble, dynamic variety and musicianly virtuosity - music coming from the heart, transmitted to Kendalian hearts by a Trio playing from the depths of its heart.

Brian Paynes WESTMORELAND GAZETTE, March 2011