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Fire and expressive power

The Guardian, Rian Evans

Beethoven: Music in Revolution was the ambitious title given to this five-day festival, curated and performed by the Gould Piano Trio and friends. It offered an absorbing historical perspective on a composer who subverted rules, pushed boundaries and used shock tactics, as well as capturing his rigour and passion.

“The Gould Trio’s recital of Op 1 No 3, and Op 11 with clarinettist Robert Plane, achieved a perfect balance of structural exactitude and lyricism. Pianist Benjamin Frith brought the same depth of understanding to a sequence of late Bagatelles and the Sonata Op 109. Frith shaped phrasing with Mozartean clarity while exploiting the drama of the music, in which Beethoven toys with expectation and surprise. On the following evening, Frith anchored a fine performance of the Op 16 Quintet, with the same wind players then gracing Beethoven’s Septet.”

Violinist Gould and Frith combined fire and expressive power in Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata, and its pairing with Janáček’s Kreutzer Sonata string quartet, based on Tolstoy’s short story of the same name, was inspired. David Adams, Gould, Rachel Roberts and Alice Neary may not formally be a quartet, but the authenticity of the febrile and rich sound they created, together with their intensity of emotion, made this most memorable.

The Concerts:

Gould Piano Trio and Friends
Beethoven: Music in Revolution
Dora Stoutzker Hall, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
10th – 14th February 2016


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