The partnership between Robert Plane and the Gould Trio stretches back 30 years and is the closest relationship with a chamber ensemble Robert has enjoyed in his career.
They were brought together initially for performances of Messiaen’s monumental Quartet for the End of Time, a work of extraordinary power, luminous beauty and spiritual enrichment. They’ve given countless performances over the past thirty years, particularly in 2008, the centenary of Messiaen’s birth, when they also made their CD recording for Chandos, hailed by BBC Music Magazine as the ‘finest modern recording’ of this epic masterpiece, and garnering acclaim across the press.
‘An admirably well judged, scrupulously expressive performance’ Gramophone, Sept 2008
‘Its performance here is exemplary.’ Album of the Week, The Independent
Perhaps the immensity of Messiaen’s work is responsible for the relatively few works for this combination of instruments. It’s a hard act to follow! In their quest to change this the ensemble decided to approach the wonderful Welsh composer Huw Watkins to compose them a piece. The Goulds and Robert run a festival together in Corbridge, Northumberland and in celebration of their 20th-anniversary festival, and with co-commissioners the Swansea International Festival, Three Choirs Festival and the Wigmore Hall onboard, they succeeded in commissioning Huw. They gave the premiere of ‘Four Fables’ at the Three Choirs Festival in Hereford on July 31st 2018. Thrilled that Huw produced such an inspired, poetic and exhilarating work for them, the dedicatees have already given over twenty-five performances, from the Wigmore Hall and a US premiere in Portland, Oregon at the distinguished Friends of Chamber Music series, to Festivals and music societies throughout the UK.
It is a wonderful work, beautifully crafted, exquisite textures, touching harmonies and gloriously individual. We’re thrilled to have been able to perform it so widely.
It soon became apparent to Rob and the Goulds that this fantastical work was an aural embodiment of movement and motion, and the idea of collaborating with a dancer to explore those aspects of the work was born.