Review: Leonore Piano Trio at the King’s Hall, October 10, 2018

A PACKED King’s Hall greeted the Leonore Piano Trio for the first concert of the 73rd season of the Ilkley Concert Club.

These players are well known to Ilkley music-lovers as part of the Sheffield-based Ensemble 360 but have been playing and recording as an independent trio since 2012.

Their programme started with one of Haydn’s late trios, written in London and designed to show off the excellence of Broadwood’s new pianos. The strings necessarily take a subsidiary role but we were at once aware that these players know each other inside out so that balance is never a problem. Tim Horton managed the intricate piano lines with his usual lightness of touch with Benjamin Nabarro (violin) and Gemma Rosefield (cello) giving strong support, especially in the stormier passages of the third movement, which they took at a cracking pace.

The discovery of the evening was Parry’s first trio, an unexpectedly substantial work. Although there are echoes of Brahms throughout, the scherzo had a Mendelssohnian lightness of touch, bubbling along towards a carefree ending. The following adagio is the romantic heart of the work, a duet in which the violin and cello trade lyrical phrases against a rocking piano accompaniment. The Leonore gave the work a committed performance which evoked warm applause.

Reserving the best for last, the players excelled in a magnificent rendition of Beethoven’s Archduke trio. Every line was given its due weight without detracting from the ensemble with some fine passages especially from Gemma Rosefield’s cello. The staccato section in the first movement was faultless and I was particularly struck by the sinister sound of the sinuous worm-like second subject in the second movement. There was rapt attention in the hall for the hymn-like variations of the third movement before the trio culminated in a vivacious account of the finale with its typically Beethovenian surprise ending.

A well-deserved and extended ovation greeted the trio to which they responded by playing the adagio of Beethoven’s Op. 11 trio, written for clarinet, but here given in its violin version.

by Chris Skidmore