Classical review: Waterford Music Chamber Music Series

Waterford City Hall

****

Schubert’ s great E flat Piano Trio formed the mainstay of a programme of chamber music presented by Waterford Music at the City Hall.

Combining the impressive forces of violinist Katherine Hunka, below, of the Irish Chamber Orchestra, British cellist Guy Johnston and pianist Hugh Tinney, the trio completed a hectic week of engagements around Ireland finishing in the elegant Georgian Room in the medieval port city.

In their vigorous and nuanced account, the trio exposed all the pathos, poignancy and gaiety in the broad mood span of the weighty work composed in Schubert’s last year.

There was a sense of relish and joy in the splendidly robust playing and the rapport between the three was remarkable. Cello and violin were as one in their unbridled approach.

Tinney brought out all the virtuoso sparkle in the cascading passages on the house Steinway C Johnston made the most of the glorious melody of the second movement Andante, based on a Swedish folk song.

Where the E flat piano trio showed a master of the Classical period paving the way ahead for the likes of heavyweights, Mahler and Bruckner, the opening duos showed a 20th century composer looking back nostalgically on a 19th century Romantic tradition. Of the five melodious duos of Opus 39 for violin and cello by Gliere, number 3 played by muted strings was particularly lovely. Composed as Wedding present for violinist Eugene Ysaye, it was easy to see why the Franck Violin Sonata in A is so popular as it is brimming with tunes. Hunka mined the rich melodic vein of the French Romantic sonata with gusto and Tinney made light work of the technical challenges of the demanding piano part.

The programme was recorded at the Galway performance and will be broadcast at a future date on RTÉ Lyric FM. Forthcoming events in the series include performances by Joanna MacGregor, Michael McHale and Michael Collins.


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