The Altenberg Trio
TONY COOPER John Innes Centre, Norwich
> John Innes Centre, Norwich
The Norfolk and Norwich Music Club ended its season on a high note with a thoroughly entertaining concert with a trio of works performed by an outstanding trio who made its debut only a decade ago at the Salzburg Mozart Week.
Their playing was exceptional and they acknowledged Haydn's visit to England by opening the concert with a work published here in 1795. They ended it with a marvellous performance of Schubert's first piano trio in B flat major, in which a packed house delighted.
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The rapport between the piano and strings was perfectly balanced with the pianist, Claus-Christian Schuster, very alert and attentive.
He kept a close ear to his colleagues (Amiram Ganz, violin, and Alexander Gebert, cello) constantly leaning away from the keyboard towards them listening to every note they played.
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And anyone thinking that contemporary music is not for them, the central work would, I think, change their minds.
It came from Douglas Weiland, a composer now based in Norfolk and presently composer-in-residence of the club. His second piano trio (in three movements) was lyrical, romantic and, above all, accessible – even, I imagine, to the most sensitive ears!
The composer (who was present at the performance) subtitled the work Pavey Ark, which is an imposing cliff in the Langdale area of the Lake District. It influenced him greatly during its composition.
I sensed a mild tribute to Shostakovich in the opening movement with bars of repeated crochets keeping up an even and compelling rhythm. It sounded very effected and complemented the writing for the two other parts in a tranquil and mesmeric way. And the ending was a glorious rush of sound!
I also imagined the landscape of this well-loved area. I was lost in thought, I heard the rush of water and found myself totally absorbed in this wonderful piece of new writing.