Concert Review

Kungsbacka Piano Trio play Haydn, Brahms & Gunnar de Frumerie
Blackheath Halls, 30 Jan 2000.

Blackheath Halls is now firmly established as one of London's leading chamber music venues. There is a regular Sunday Mornings series through to May, and on Tuesday evening the Etive Ensemble will give the Schumann and Dohnanyi piano quintets to launch this year's Young Artists' Series, showcases for recent graduates and post-graduate students.

The Kungsbacka Piano Trio consists of Simon Crawford-Phillips, recently reviewed in the Wigmore Hall's First Concert of the New Century (S&H 2 January) with two Swedish string players, Malin Broman (violin) and Jesper Svedberg (cello). Formed in 1997, they demonstrated the virtues of close association and musical compatability. It is always reassuring to see the piano lid thrown wide open, and Simon Crawford-Phillips ensured that there were no balance problems. There is a lot of eye contact and give and take. They obviously enjoy playing together, and are able to mould dynamics and tempi freely yet subtly, which helps the listener to keep track of overall structure in large scale movements like those of the Brahms Op 8 trio, given in its revised version (the original version was reviewed in S&H from the Wigmore Hall 18 Jan).

Haydn's Eb trio (HXV 30) was forthright and stylish, very invigorating, and Trio No 2 (1952) by the Swedish composer Gunnar de Frumerie (1908-87) was a thoroughly welcome novelty. His compatriots told us that they are friends of his family, and introduced this work with its 'typical Swedish melancholy', wild scherzo and folk-inspired finale. New Grove says that he was an outstanding and colourful pianist and has few Swedish equals in the field of song.

The Kungsbacka Piano Trio will repeat the Haydn and Brahms trios at the Wigmore Hall on Tuesday lunchtime; try to hear them!

Peter Grahame Woolf


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