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The Delphine Trio - Magdalenna Krstevska, clarinet, Jobine Siekman, cello, and Roelof Temmingh, piano – was founded two years ago at the Royal College of Music. The group has a deliberate policy of exploring under-represented areas of the repertoire, and this recital was a fine example – The Assembly Rooms, Buxton, UK, 12 July 2022.
Beethoven is not exactly under-represented, but his Clarinet Trio, Op 11, really could do with being played more often. It may not be particularly profound, but it is hugely enjoyable. In the first movement, the players, following their carefree way with the opening, brought out hints of the wildness beneath the music's drawing-room manners. They made the second movement flow gently, and moved from the spirited to the more lyrical, and back, in the various instrumental dialogues in the concluding set of variations.
Kenneth Leighton's Fantasy on an American Hymn Tune is even less of a repertoire piece. In fact, the composer himself is due for rediscovery. The hymn tune is the well-known 'At the River', printed at the front of the score, and which the players sang as an introduction. In their hands, the Fantasy was full of ear-catching detail: the tolling piano writing at the start, Leighton's typically knotty counterpoint, the jazzy dance-impulse the players explored in the second of the six main sections. Magdalenna Krstevska and Jobine Siekman let rip in their double cadenza, making a telling contrast with the cello-piano threnody that followed. The piano's disruptive presence in the final section pointed up the long, quiet withdrawal at the end.
Oblivion is one of Piazzolla's best-known short pieces, which the Delphine Trio delivered in all its soulful, bluesy sultriness.
American composer Robert Muczynski ought to be better known, outside of the States, if his Fantasy Trio is typical. There was driving energy, and a delightful throwaway ending, in the first movement. The second movement is a nocturne, whose opening cello solo here seemed to evoke a solitary figure in an Edward Hopper painting. The dance rhythms and smoother textures of the third movement were well contrasted. After a lyrical introduction, the trio had fun with the last movement, with its cheeky, deliberate allusion to the theme tune from The Flintstones.
Acoustically, this seemed to work better than the 'Colour My Song' recital in the same space the day before though, again, spoken introductions tended to get a bit lost. But the Delphine Trio looks set to become a major presence, with playing, and programming, full of vitality and imagination.
Copyright © 4 August 2022