Keswick Music Society: The Odysseus Trio at St John’s Church.

Three centuries, three countries, three composers and three performers playing three piano trios. Haydn’s last piano trio was written in Vienna when he was 64 in 1796. Faure was 78 and living in Paris when he composed his only piano trio in 1923 and in 1847, Schumann was 43 and, newly returned to Dresden, was suffering from severe bouts of nervous depression. The piano trio is a companiable form, friends playing, sharing the music, the instruments talking together. As the music flowed, the Odysseus Trio (Sara Trickey, violin, Seb van Kuijk, cello, Robin Green, piano) took us on a journey through three varied trios.The Allegro that opened the Haydn was a mountain stream, playful, bustling, splashing over the rocks, full of surprising and teasing phrases. And then it slowed into the andante, a courtly dance, a pleasing elegance that seemed to stop before, in the Scherzo, it quirkily hustled through the rapids. All, of course, played with a great sense of fun and liveliness. There was even a Haydnesque Farewell break, when Robin Green leapt from the piano and left the room for a medical emergency.The Fauré flowed like a wide and beautiful river, its broad melodies and dark waters reflecting the clouds and the sunlight. In the second movement, Andantino, the deep unison of cello and violin was possessed of a melancholy that was both sad and beautiful. This moved into an Allegro Vivo, with the steady moving current of the piano rushing past the lingering dark pools of the strings.It was the music of a wise old man.Schumann was a young man, lately married. He put his passionate and troubled soul into his music. This is music in spate with an energy that constantly threatens to break the bounds of contrapuntal discipline. Only in the slow third movement does it spread to become a pool that is dark and deep, before it rushes onwards in the final movement, played with fire, emerging in the sunlight.

The Odysseus Trio took us on a tour of musical form and history through a range of passion and humour in a powerfully expressive and moving concert.

Steve Matthews