EVEN Musica Viva’s artistic director Carl Vine acknowledges that this trio has the most unpronounceable name in the world. Its names aside, this piano trio are all very fine musicians with significant solo careers as well as a growing reputation with this ensemble.
The trio is Scottish-born violinist Nicola Benedetti, German cellist Leonard Elschenbroich and Ukrainian pianist Alexei Grynyuk and this is their first tour for Musica Viva.
The programming for this tour is a little unusual, with two quite different programs alternating around the country. These were structured in the same way, with he first half of the program consisting of a cello and a violin sonata and the second half a work by Australian composer Gordon Kerry and a piano trio. In Canberra, this was the Cello Sonata in C major, op 119 and the Violin Sonata no 2 in D major, op 94 by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev.
Both works were played very well, with some clever cello pizzicato and piano interplay in the first sonata. The violin sonata was the more interesting and attractive work of the two with lots of melodic interest. The second movement especially would seem to provide some technical challenges, but any were overcome seemingly effortlessly.
The Gordon Kerry work Im Winde (Piano Trio no 2) is based on a German poem from the early 19th century. It opened with high drones suggesting insects in summer but wandered off into random noises shortly after. There was one very pretty section with high harmonics on the violin contrasting with repetitive patterns echoed on the piano and cello, but most of the time it seemed that the three parts had little to do with each other.
The final work was the Piano Trio in A minor by Maurice Ravel, which was a total delight. It was very much a trio performance, with memorable highlights in each movement. The balance between the instruments was always just right throughout the work. A fine trio of musicians who will doubtless visit again, whether as this ensemble or as soloists in their own right. They could always call themselves the BEG Trio, which would make the work of the spellcheck much easier.