Review: Solarek Piano Trio in Chichester

Solarek Piano Trio, Chichester Cathedral, July 2

It wasn’t Beethoven that put the ghost into his Trio in D major, op. 70 no. 1. Somebody else found it there and, as with other of his work that he didn’t give such names to, that’s what it became known as. Before the haunting, though, the Solarek Piano Trio began with Soir et Matin by Mel Bonis which was picturesque and atmospheric, Marina Solarek’s violin and Ellen Baumring-Gledhill’s cello sharing the evening motif while Robert Bridge’s piano was dusky underneath. The morning was in a noticeably higher register, gently awakening in a way that vaguely brought to mind Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe.

Beethoven is rarely over-shadowed on any programme, though, and the Ghost Trio was the main event. The Allegro dashed in its vivace e con brio way with Ellen performing some of the fastest fingerwork I’ve possibly ever seen on a cello but then the Largo was where we were to expect some chill in the air. Yes, it is muted and mournful and perhaps in search of lost passion, its desolate theme mistily in the violin and then the piano with Robert also revealing the perturbèd spirit. The Presto was boisterous in Beethoven’s muscular way, the two string players apparently having their attempt at some Mozartian salon elegance continually interrupted by cartwheels and acrobatics from the piano and having to join in. The Trio was not on my record shelves but is yet another thing that will have to be added thanks to the wide-ranging education provided by all these tremendous events. There’s no point buying one, I’ll have the lot. Barenboim, Zucherman and Du Pré it is, then.

Chichester’s summer lunchtime series ends next week but the Autumn list is already available with a lot to look forward to on it because one is never disappointed there.

David Green

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