This was a superb concert. Not just for the quality of the playing – which was predictably wonderfully focused – but rather for a beautifully balanced programme, which encompassed some important corners of Western music, plus a new work of some substance.
Any new work from Kenneth Young needs to be heard and his new Piano Trio is no exception. Somehow, Young’s music manages to avoid any of the new music trends of the 20th century while, at the same time, never sounding in any way dated. He is his own man. The work is an unbroken sequence of three distinct sections. The first is a vigorous dialogue between the three players, the second has solo ruminations from both the piano and the cello and a gentle conversation between violin and piano, and the third is a brief, sometimes eruptive, argument. A fine piece that needs to be heard again. Incidentally, Young’s new CD with the NZSO, entitled Shadows and Light, is just out.
The concert opened with the very late Piano Trio by the extraordinary Frenchman Gabriel Faure; a work that shimmers within his distinctive harmonic palette yet, like his final work, The String Quartet, hints at new directions had he lived longer.
Finally, we heard Beethoven’s Second Symphony in his arrangement for piano trio, and so utterly surefooted is it that it would fit comfortably within Beethoven’s dedicated piano trios. And, along the way, it adds a dimension or two to our understanding of Beethoven’s most optimistic and sunny symphony. As with the other two works, the playing was marvellously assured.
John Button – Dominion Post, 11 November 2015