by Albert George Storace
It was good to be back at the Festival. After a few days’ break it was to be great experience listening to a young ensemble at work, the Avant Piano Trio. Pianist Alessandro Viale and violinist Rebecca Raimondi both from Italy and Slovene cellist Urška Horvat were introduced to the VIAF by Ms Suzanne Cacciottolo.
The performance was presented at the Aula Mgr. G. Farrugia, an intimate venue which suffers from lack of ventilation on hot summer evenings. However the performers managed to make me put up with the inconvenience, thanks to the brilliant way they projected the music. Apart from the usual very erudite notes provided by Dr. Maria Frendo, Sig. Viale dwelt with some detail about the trio’s approach to works they perform. This is aimed at providing the best possible interpretation of the music which follows deep study and research of original material. No wonder that they seemed to be so much at ease in their idiomatic versatility, spanning as they did the best part of a century in the transition from Haydn’s classic Piano Trio Trio in G, Hob. XV:25 ‘Gypsy’, the Romantic Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio n.1 in D minor, op. 49 and the hints in part, at an already different sound world in Debussy Piano Trio in G, L.5. They sailed easily from one to the other. The Haydn was crisp, to the point, full of wit and a great, swooping concluding Rondo all’Ongarese. The passion, tenderness and ardour in the Mendelssohn trio was the peak of this evening’s performance. Having said this does not mean that I did not enjoy the Debussy Trio. This performance was a rare treat, of a very early work, hardly ever performed because for long believed lost. It was expertly and painstakingly reconstructed (mainly Ellwood Derr) from surviving fragments and sketches.
Apart from well-deserved applause, the pianist and violinist were given a special round of it when Fr. George Frendo announced that later this month the couple were to get married in Rome.