A trio of masterpieces

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The All Saints, Iden outing of the Rye Arts Festival is a special occasion, and this year on Wednesday September 23 the Odysseus Piano Trio gave us three trio masterpieces by Martinu, Schubert and Dvorak.

The first of these and also Martinu’s first, contains, as the programme note tells us. ‘five movements…all sharply characterised’ and Sara Trickey (violin), Gregor Riddell (cello) and Clare Hammond (piano) ensured that all five were communicated with both vividness and musicality, convincing listeners that this unfamiliar work is well worth listening to many more times.

It was followed by Schubert’s first piano trio, beloved by one of the composer’s great champions, Robert Schumann, and full of the most beautiful melodies. The musicians brought out the beauty and charm of each of the four movements, the highlights being the opening of the second movement andante and the delightful concluding rondo, with Clare Hammond’s sure and dextrous pianism providing a firm and very musical foundation for the string players’ lyricism.

Perhaps the most memorable part of the concert, the penultimate of the classical part of the Festival, was the Dvorak ‘Dumky’ Trio in the second half, the last of the composer’s four for this combination of instruments.

Highly original in structure, with six movements, this work employs very varied tempi within movements, something which the players not only  coped with splendidly but also made as beautifully and joyously expressive as Dvorak, a composer who enhanced and beautified everything he touched, would have wished.

This young piano trio has very great potential and have chosen their group name well, as, like Odysseus, the Greek hero, they are setting out on a long journey, in their case a journey towards the unattainable ideal of the perfect performance.