The partnership between Robert Plane and the Gould Trio stretches back 25 years and is the closest relationship with a chamber ensemble Robert has enjoyed in his career. The fact that he is married to Lucy Gould, violinist of the Gould Trio, clearly intensifies this, but the whole ensemble has a feeling of family and of a wealth of shared experience. Richard Lester, cellist of the trio, also happens to be Lucy Gould’s brother-in-law, completing the family bond.
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 twenty 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.
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 and it has already been performed ten times in the UK, with further performances planned both here and on tour in the USA. Robert Plane comments:
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, with lots of exciting engagements lined up for next year as well.