Trio Palladio are Latvians; grammy-winning violinist Eva Bindere, London Philharmonic principle cellist Kristina Blaumane, and highly-regarded pianist Reinis Zarins.
Here tonight to perform a programme of four pieces from four very different composers; Beethoven’s Piano Trio Op 70 No 1 ‘Ghost’, Peteris Vasks’ Plainscapes, Toru Takemitsu’s Between Tides, and Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No 1 in D minor.
The stage is, typically for St Georges, simply set; a concert piano and 4 stools (that confused me, I didn’t know a page turner was a thing) and the audience is smaller than we’ve seen here recently, and perhaps a little ‘younger’ than I expected.
The first piece of music couldn’t have been better chosen to showcase the three musicians, there aren’t really any ‘bad’ seats in St Georges but we were fortunate to be above the performers on the side of the pianist so were able to see every movement of Zarins’ fingers, directly and reflected by the gloss of the Steinway. It was during this piece of music that I saw a young member of the audience, probably about 8 years old, absolutely revelling in the contrasts between the faster and slower passages, her hands beating out rhythms on her bundled up coat, then dancing in the air representing the sound of the strings. It made me smile, but I also sympathised with her mother grabbing one hand then the other to try to mitigate her daughter’s enthusiasm. It helped momentarily as the young girl fell back on dancing using only the muscles in her face, but the arms invariably crept back up into the air.
Peteris Vasks’ Plainscapes was an absolute wonder, I didn’t see so much of the action during this section of the performance; mostly I just closed my eyes and concentrated on the sounds, completely different to the traditional composition we heard earlier and absolutely something that I would listen to again.
After the interval, and a pleasant discussion about the architecture and origins of St George’s (thanks Tony & Randi), Takemitsu’s Between Tides changed the pace again; but both these more modern compositions reminded me that often the space surrounding the music is as important as the notes played. The music of bands like later-period Talk Talk, and Tindersticks feels like almost direct descendants of innovative composers like these. Takemitsu is rarely played due to his ‘innovative’ way of notating his music, that’s a shame as this is great, dramatic; pretend fear etched on the 8 year old audience members face.
The evening ends with Mendelssohn, a slight return to traditional chamber music, but much more to my taste than Beethoven.
By now the young girl air-conducting was joined, one row, seven seats and about 70 years apart, by a man in an immaculate grey suit. Both animated and obviously loving the music. If that doesn’t give you a warm fuzzy feeling about the enduring power of music to bring people together I don’t know what will.
You can see what else is coming up at St George’s on their webiste