Amatis Piano Trio
PhotoAmatis4.jpg
Venue:
St Peter's Church, Shaldon
Bridge Road
Shaldon
Teignmouth
Devon
TQ14 0DB
United Kingdom
Type: Concert
Date: Friday 23 June 2017
Start Time: 7.30pm
Performer(s): Amatis Piano Trio
Host Organisation: Shaldon Festival
Box Office Contact: Malcolm Watson
Box Office Email: tickets@shaldonfestival.co.uk



AMATIS PIANO TRIO
Violin Lea Hausmann
Cello Samuel Shepherd
Piano Mengjie Han


Programme:
Beethoven: 'Gassenhauer' Piano Trio, Op.11
Shostakovich: Piano Trio No.1, Op.8
---Interval---
Suk: Elegie Op.23
Mendelssohn: Piano Trio No.1

Detail:

Concert Review
The second concert of this year’s Shaldon Festival was given by the Amatis Piano Trio. The trio was founded in 2013 and has won many awards and prizes, in particular, the 2015 Parkhouse Award. To see and hear them perform is to understand why.

The concert opened with Beethoven’s “Gassenhauer-Trio”, a work originally conceived for a trio with a clarinet instead of the violin but which the composer later arranged for piano trio. This delightful, three-movement piece allowed the trio to demonstrate their individual musicality as well as the rapport they achieve in their ensemble playing.

This was followed by the short, early Shostakovich Piano Trio No. 1 in C Minor, Op.8 which was notable for the insight it gave into the composer’s later work. There were calm, lyrical sections as well as hints of the angry and troubled man he was to become. This is exactly the kind of music at which the Amatis trio excels. The lyrical sections were warm and delicate and the whole piece was played with great panache.

The second half began with Suk’s Elegie. The delicate melodies and impassioned episodes demonstrated that the trio was perfectly integrated, communicating intuitively.

The final piece on the programme was the Trio in D minor, Op. 49 No. 1 by Mendelssohn. This is a substantial work and is highly typical of the composer. The opening molto allegro agitato allowed the trio to display their expert virtuosity whilst the gentle, pensive andante con moto tranquillo allowed the violin and the ’cello to display a range of emotions and the piano to draw the movement to a gentle close. The enormously demanding scherzo allowed all three members to demonstrate their individual technical brilliance as well as their coordination as an ensemble. The Finale was spell-binding and left us all exhilarated.

At the end of the concert, the persistence of the audience was rewarded with an encore. The Amatis Trio played a movement from Ástor Piazzolla’s Estaciones Porteñas (The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires). It was quite clear that the members of the trio derived just as much enjoyment from playing this as we did from listening to it!

The Amatis Trio clearly have a great future ahead. They play with such poise and brilliance and are perfectly balanced and coordinated. It is no surprise to learn that they are members of the BBC’s New Generation Artists scheme. We look forward to seeing more of them in the future.

Christopher Morris

Amatis Piano Trio

The Amatis Piano Trio was founded in Amsterdam in 2013 by German violinist Lea Hausmann, British cellist Samuel Shepherd and Dutch/Chinese pianist Mengjie Han, winning the Parkhouse Award in 2015.

In April 2016 the Amatis Piano Trio won second prize and audience prize at the International Joseph Joachim Chamber Music Competition in Weimar which was followed immediately by a tour of Hong Kong and Indonesia. The trio has performed extensively throughout Europe and has appeared at many festivals including Salzburg Chamber Music Festival, Grachtenfestival Amsterdam, Beethoven Festival Bonn, Utrecht Chamber Music Festival and Festival Pablo Casals in France.

In 2015 the trio became the youngest finalists of the International Chamber Music Competition ‘Schubert und die Musik der Moderne’ in Graz and shortly after were named ‘Dutch Classical Talent 2015/16. The trio has been part of the European Chamber Music Academy since 2015.

For website click here

Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Trio in B flat, Op.11
Allegro con brio
Adagio
Tema: 'Pria ch'io l'impegno


Although Beethoven wrote this B flat Trio for the virtuoso Bohemian clarinettist Joseph Beer, it was also published in an alternative version with the violin replacing the clarinet. It dates from 1796 or 1797. Despite the composer having arrived at an early stage of maturity, the piece has the fresh spontaneity of an earlier work and has no illusions of profundity. A bold, arresting statement opens the piece, announcing a number of themes which make up the first group. Two powerful chords bring this section to a close, allowing the clarinet/violin to introduce the second theme. The listener may be fooled by a couple of false endings before the movement finally comes to a conclusion. An expressive cantabile melody opens the Adagio in which the 'cello is highlighted. The same instrument also announces the second theme with an ascending scale, to which the clarinet/violin replies.

The final movement is a set of variations on the aria Pria ch'io l'impegno from Joseph Weigl's opera L'amor Marinaro (The Corsair). This was a well known and popular tune, or Gassenhauer, from which the trio obtained its nickname. Why this theme should have been chosen is a mystery. Some accounts credit its suggestion to the publisher, and others to Joseph Beer. Whatever the truth, it seems that Beethoven was not happy with it, either because he had not been informed of its source, or because he disputed its suitability as a subject for variations. Despite his doubts the listener cannot fail to be amused and delighted by these witty essays on a gay, attractive melody.

Programme notes provided by John Dalton, June 2010, courtesy of Making Music

Dmitri Shostakovich: Piano Trio No. 1 in C minor, Op.8

Shostakovich was born in St. Petersburg/Petrograd/Leningrad. The changing names reflect the turbulent background to his early life, with war, revolutions and deprivation: but not the relatively happy family circle, both bourgeois and radical, in which he was brought up. His musical propensities were recognised in his early years, and by the age of 13 he was admitted to the St. Petersburg Conservatoire to study piano and composition. In 1921, he had already suffered from malnutrition, and Glazunov, the Principal of the Conservatoire, had requested extra rations for him. By the spring of 1923, when he graduated with honours in piano, he was again suffering from malnutrition and from tuberculosis and was sent to spend the summer in a sanatorium in the Crimea. He was not yet 17: but while recuperating there, he sketched his First Symphony which was to bring him instant fame three years later and he composed the Piano Trio No. 1.

Ian Macdonald, in his splendid book The New Shostakovich, says that this work preserved "a vein of escapist romance", subsequently lost, which he attributes to St. Petersburg itself, a "city to inspire fantasy", especially in a boy with "an acute sensitivity to atmosphere". There was more to it than that: romance itself, in the shape of a girl he had met while convalescing that summer, Tanya Glivenko who became his fiancée. This Trio is dedicated to her.

Felix Mendelssohn: Piano Trio No.1 in D minor, Op.49

Molto allegro ed agitato
Andante con moto tranquillo
Scherzo (leggiero e vivace)
Finale (allegro assai appassionato)


The rich melodies in which the D minor Trio abounds owe much to Mendelssohn's travels in Italy during his youth. They are surprisingly lyrical for a work in a minor key. But then this piece spends little time in that mode, and though parts of it are stormy in character, none of it is really sombre. The part-writing is generally finely balanced, with no instrument being particularly favoured. It is worth noting, however, that Hiller, who wanted to play the work himself, prevailed upon Mendelssohn to make the piano part virtuosic, exploiting the techniques recently pioneered by Liszt and Chopin. It is to Mendelssohn's credit that he did not make the piano part too showy and allowed it to blend into the trio's texture.

The first movement carries the marking molto allegro ed agitato – very lively and agitated. It is as accurate a way as any of describing the mood of this free-ranging yet emotionally tense three-in-a-measure music. The first subject is presented immediately by the 'cello, accompanied by the piano whose part is full of off-the-beat chords, which seems to inhibit the fluidity of a theme that wants to flow gracefully but cannot. The violin joins the other two instruments to elaborate on this opening material, and the passion increases. Tensions relax as we go into the much more lyrical second subject in a major key. The three instruments sing romantically for a brief time before the storm of turbulent emotions returns. The development consists largely of the re-presentation of these two ideas with little transformation but with a subtle attention to the variations afforded by different combinations of instruments. The 'cello and violin pursue the first subject through a pattern of related keys – A minor, D minor and G minor – and in a moment of magic they stop to allow the piano alone to present the second. It is an oasis of calm. As the development progresses, a dialogue is established between the strings singing the second subject in unison and the piano, which continues the contrasting, disturbed mood. The recapitulation, predictably prepared by Mendelssohn, contains some deviations from the exposition, one of the most interesting being a brief cadenza for the piano. In the extended coda, the piano part flashes with tricky runs in music that remains stormy in character right to the end of the movement.

The piano opens the lovely lullaby-like Andante in B flat with a lilting theme. The strings are initially confined to echoing the piano's material. But passion is never far away. The central section in B flat minor features all three instruments in agitated mood again. But the mood of tranquillity specified in the movement marking returns, as with variations in instrumentation the movement repeats the opening material and draws to a quiet close. The triple-time Scherzo is thoroughly imbued with the same spirit as that which permeates Mendelssohn's incidental music to A Midsummer Night's Dream. The music of this blithe movement in D major skips along with cheerful abandon. The trio section of this scherzo is hardly discernible – indeed, it's a moot point whether it is there at all, since all we detect is a slightly disturbed developmental episode in the middle of the movement, which in no way slackens pace and is soon back in its carefree mood once more to end with the lightest of treads.

The fervent first subject of the finale shows in its rhythm a passing resemblance to a theme from Schubert's "Trout" Quintet, but its urgent character is distinctive. The second subject, in the relative major key of F, more closely accords with classical sonata form than did the first movement. This second subject is again a lyrical and romantic theme, but one that is more ecstatic than the second theme of the opening allegro. The music builds to a climax as it moves into the development section. A magic moment here comes with a new idea in B flat, a yearning theme heard first in the 'cello alone, then in both strings. The music's passion once more grows with a return to the home key and the opening motif of the first subject. The movement becomes ever more ecstatic. The second subject is foreshadowed in B flat and then presented in the glorious key of D major. The ending of the work is a marvellously triumphant apotheosis of the material upon which this wonderful finale is based.

Programme notes provided by William Gould, January 2000, courtesy of Making Music


Parking Map for St Peter's Church, Shaldon



VENUE

St Peter’s Church, Bridge Road, Shaldon, TQ14 0DB

CAR PARKING ADVICE

1. Long Stay Public Carpark ½ mile from the church, reached through the village or off the A379 coast road to Torquay, postcode TQ14 0HP – 381 spaces, “pay & display” during the day but free after 6.00pm. Allow 15 minutes for the blue walking route shown.
2. Short Stay Public Carpark, opposite the church, postcode TQ14 0BP – 48 spaces, “pay & display” subject to a short stay 4 hour limit during the day but free after 6.00pm.
3. Extra parking – limited space adjoining the recreation ground reached from Ringmore Road but with easy pedestrian access to the Church along the estuary embankment. If using this area, please park “tidily” to maximise the usable space; this area is only available for parking as a special arrangement for the Festival.

PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

Please telephone Malcolm Watson on 01626 873492 if you need help with letting someone alight at the church and/or need seating space for a wheelchair. In addition, there are a very few parking spaces close to the church which we can reserve for those with mobility difficulties on a first come, first served, basis.