Review: Aurora Trio, Octagon Chapel

The Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2015 Ns at the Forum. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY.

The Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2015 Ns at the Forum. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

Friday's lunchtime recital at the Octagon Chapel was part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival's series featuring young artists from the Royal Academy of Music, in this case The Aurora Trio, Emma Halnan, flute, Joe Bronstein, viola, and Heather Wrighton, harp.

Arnold Bax is perhaps best known for his orchestral works, yet he wrote much chamber music, of which several pieces include the harp. Though written as a memorial to friends lost in the Irish Easter Uprising in 1916, his Elegiac Trio is a captivating work, more pastoral than sombre, and the exemplary playing of the Aurora captured its mood perfectly.

Finding repertoire for a trio of this combination must be difficult, yet their performance of Ravel's Sonatine in a superb arrangement by Skaila Kanga seemed, if anything to equal, if not enhance the original piano version.

The music of Takemitsu has its own unique sound world. His 'And Then I Knew 'Twas Wind' proved effective and atmospheric, if somewhat prolonged, and fulfilled its purpose as a companion piece to the final work, Debussy's Sonata for flute,viola and harp; late elegiac music in which the composer looks back to the works of his youth. Superbly performed by the Aurora, it made a fitting climax to this delightful recital which provided a rare opportunity to hear works written for this rare combination of instruments.

Frank Cliff

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