Much to applaud in trio’s debut

Zurich Piano Trip @ Snape Maltings.

Zurich Piano Trip @ Snape Maltings

By Frank Cliff

Spring Weekends seemed an inappropriate title for the opening concert of Aldeburgh's March Series. The bitter weather may have been a factor in a less than full house; either that, or the choice of an ensemble unfamiliar to English audiences, for the Zurich Piano Trio was appearing in this country for the first time.

They brought a programme of works by Mozart, Ravel and Brahms and there was much to applaud about their playing although the evening was not an unqualified success.

Basically for much of the time the strings seemed unwilling to respond in kind to the ravishing sound of Christiane Frucht's piano. This was most noticeable in Mozart's E major trio K542, when playing of the utmost sensitivity was no substitute for the lack of a warm and vibrant sound.

Balance in the Ravel was better, but even in this immaculately prepared performance there were moments which seemed underplayed; one had for instance to strain one's ears to catch the harmonics at the end of the first movement.

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Only after the interval did their performance of Brahms' 1889 version of his early B major trio produce a much more committed and integrated sound and reveal their true potential.