NZTrio (Justine Cormack – violin, Ashley Brown – cello and Sarah Watkins – piano) have made a name for themselves exploring a wide variety of contemporary works, often commissioned for them, alongside established works on the recital platform. So it was with yesterday’s concert, where we were treated to new works by Bright Sheng (China), Ellen Zwilich (USA) and Claire Cowan (NZ), with a rarely heard piano trio by Tchaikovsky completing the programme.
The first half made for fascinating listening. Sheng’s Four Movements for Piano Trio were short but reflected their Chinese origins, Cowan’s Subtle Dances showed some clever rhythmic work mixed with a purple bit of cool blues, while Zwilich’s Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello, the most substantial work in the programme so far was dramatic, intense and definitely one to be experienced live. NZTrio performed the works with great panache and style, acute ensemble awareness and a great empathy with their music, in a performance characterised by sheer energy and vitality.
Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio in A minor is a monumental work, filled with despair at the death of his friend Arthur Rubenstein. It is gloriously lush, building to a bravura finale. It was another excellent performance from the trio, providing a deeply satisfying concert.
Stephen Fisher – Manawatu Standard, 13 May 2013