Bristol Ensemble Piano Trio at Sherwell Centre Plymouth (review)

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‘Two’s company, three’s a crowd’ might appear to apply more to personal relationships, than concert-planning.

But just as the services of a chaperone could prove advantageous in the former, there’s often a case for something similar in the latter.

Had this recital by Bristol Ensemble Piano Trio opened with a light aperitif by a third composer, a short Haydn trio for example, it might actually have better benefited the programme’s avowed intent to convey a sense of East-West fusion, rather than contrast alone.

Composer, Ash Madni, has successfully merged elements of his native Indian music with Western traditions, creating a unique sound-stage that is more than merely superficially imbued with exotic colours, harmonies and textures for effect alone.

As a result, though, there can sometimes be a sameness from one section to the next, and while this seemed more apparent in the substantial Carnatic Variations, it didn’t actually arise from a true sense of any recurring theme linking the movements.

‘We shall never forget them’, dedicated to the British Armed Forces, did prove especially impressive, and while Journey to the Court of Kublai Khan certainly communicated its literary programme effectively, could perhaps have been sacrificed in the cause of overall intrinsic balance.

The players gave a no-nonsense account of Mendelssohn’s D minor Piano Trio, to conclude an enjoyable concert, though one which didn’t score quite so highly on pure presentation itself.


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