Review: The Beacon Piano Trio, Sidmouth

The Beacon Trio - (l to r) Anna Cockroft, violin; Joyce Clarke, piano; Ruth Lass, cello. Picture: Co

The Beacon Trio - (l to r) Anna Cockroft, violin; Joyce Clarke, piano; Ruth Lass, cello. Picture: Contributed - Credit: Archant

On Sunday, October 20, the Beacon Piano Trio – Anna Cockroft violin, Ruth Lass cello and Joyce Clarke piano – returned to the elegant Music Room at Sidholme where they were welcomed by an enthusiastic full house.

For this visit they gave us two complete works: Haydn's Piano Trio in G major popularly known as 'the Gypsy Rondo', and a rare opportunity to hear Charles Villiers Stanford's Piano trio in E flat opus 35.

What a joy to hear the Haydn. While it is known mainly for the last movement, the trio reminded us that there is much more to this piece; the joyful andante of the first movement and the reflective beauty of the second before the sudden release of energy in the last - 'all'Ongarese'.

By contrast, the Stanford is far less well known, in fact it is likely that most, if not all, were hearing it for the first time. One of the most accomplished musicians of his age, Stanford was a founding member of the Royal College of Music where he numbered among his many pupils Gustav Holst and Vaughan Williams, to name but two. Although as a composer he is more widely known for his songs and sacred works, he also wrote 10 operas, seven symphonies, 13 concertos and much chamber music amongst which is this, his first, piano trio. It is a substantial work in four movements. The melodic line is more akin to Brahms than earlier romantics and it is interesting to note that George Grove, the first director of the RCM., wrote: "Charlie's music contains everything but sentiment".

As always the Beacon Piano Trio gave us an inspiring performance with beautiful solo passages and, the most important quality, impeccable ensemble playing. How fortunate we are to have this talented and accomplished group of musicians in our area.

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