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Seen and Heard Recital Review


Mozart, Dvořak Florestan Trio, Wigmore Hall, 1pm, Monday, October 11th, 2004 (CC)


So to the ‘new’ Wigmore Hall. No doubt that the seats are more comfortable, the bouquets of flowers around the stage are bigger … and perhaps to mark the event the organisers have decided to give reviewers even worse seats than before. Not only at the back, but right to the side too so that personally I could see very little indeed. But it is always good to see the Wigmore lunchtimes sold out, and nice to see the hall itself looking so spick-and-span, but it would have been even better if I had been able to see the Florestan Trio, too. Maybe the renovation did not impress the audience anyway … the announcer’s question in her pre-concert spiel ‘So what do you think?’ drew a total blank.


The Florestan Trio is one of the jewels of Hyperion’s crown and for this recital they elected to play only two works, Mozart’s C major Trio, K548 (1788) and Dvořák’s ‘Dumky’ Trio (1890-91).


The Mozart is a delightful work. If clouds do scud across the horizon (there is a dramatic outburst in the central Andante cantabile, for example), they need not detain us for long. The Florestan Trio realised at once the approachable nature of this work perfectly. Mozart’s seeming ease of utterance (it is a true masterpiece) came over as unaffected and scintillating. Approachable it may be, but this is a sophisticated piece that deserves (and got) a sophisticated performance. The understated eloquence of the opening of the slow movement, the careful shading of semiquaver runs (especially from the pianist Susan Tomes) and the sparkling, nimble finale were things of real joy.


It was back in April in this very hall that the Beaux Arts Trio gave a memorable account of Dvořák’s masterly ‘Dumky’ Trio. If the Beaux Arts stressed the fantastical, the Florestan were more at pains to emphasise Dvořák’s interior message. The slower passages (of which there are many, as five of the six movements begin with slower sections) were tender and imbued with a very specifically Dvořákian melancholy, making the bouncy dance sections all the more contrastive (and, indeed, infectious). With the Florestan Trio, despite glittering moments, it is the darker side of Dvořák’s persona that will remain in the memory. Typical of their interpretation, then, that the last movement’s final flourish (that Gerald Larner in his programme note promised us would be ‘brilliantly conclusive’) was distinctly un-virtuosic in manner.


Colin Clarke


The Florestan Trio’s recording of the Dumky Trio appears on Hyperion CDA66895, coupled with the same composer’s F minor Trio, B130

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