Great review in The Guardian of the Beaux Arts Trio's Wigmore recital
, Monday 31st January, 2005
The Beaux Arts Trio
Wigmore Hall, London, 27th January 2005
Few chamber ensembles have such longevity as the Beaux Arts Trio
, which made its debut 50 years ago. Not surprisingly, the personnel has altered. By my reckoning, its newest member, Daniel Hope
, is the group's fifth violinist. Antonio Meneses
became its third cellist in 1998. That leaves pianist Menahem Pressler
as the sole survivor from the trio's first incarnation back in 1955. Now in his early 80s, he remains a spry, knowing presence at the keyboard, and as dexterous as ever.
Though both Hope and Meneses have impressive solo careers, they would certainly acknowledge the lifetime's experience their older partner brings to the piano trio repertoire. These players listen to one another with unbroken concentration, and the results are highly unified interpretations. But there were times in this programme - which focused on works from the classical and romantic periods that have always been the Beaux Arts' stock-in-trade - when both violinist and cellist seemed reticent, as if wary of imposing personal touches that might actually have given the performances more character. Hope had the odd maladroit moment. Meneses was more secure, but equally deferential.
This was least noticeable in the opening work, Schlaflied, by the German composer Jan Müller-Wieland (born 1966), here receiving its UK premiere. This lullaby takes a phrase from the famous song by Brahms and threads fragments of it throughout the piece, which begins with rhythmic tapping and extreme sounds from the strings before settling into a study in atmospherics that passed the time pleasantly without leaving much impression.
Beethoven's Trio Op 70 no 2, the companion to the better known Ghost, found Pressler's gift for melodic shaping undiminished, but it was in Dvorak's Dumky Trio - with its alternations of music for lamentation with music for dancing, derived from the Ukrainian folk form known as the dumka - where the trio really let their collective hair down. The resulting release of energy was really rather astonishing.