Haydn Coffee Concerts
Wed 20th September 2017
Haddington Town House
A series of 4 concerts, held in the 18th century William Adam designed Town House in Haddington, was a perfect setting for this recital of Joseph Haydn (1739-1809), Mark Simpson (b1988) and Ludwig van Beeethoven (1770-1827). Performed by the outstanding Gould Piano Trio, with Benjamin Frith on piano, Lucy Gould on violin and Alice Neary on cello.
The recital commenced with Haydn’s piano trio in D major Hob.XV:7. Written in 1784, one of his later trios reflecting Haydn’s musical maturity and much admired by critics. A technically challenging piece, dominated by the piano part; the Gould trio, seemed to effortlessly convey the formality but lightness of this piece. Haydn was 45 when he wrote this piece, he also met Mozart in this year, becoming a friend and mentor to the young musician, with whom there was mutual admiration. Considered by some to lack Mozart’s tragic and dramatic life, Haydn was unhappily married and suffered significant facial disfigurement from smallpox infection. He contributed a significant and greatly admired body of work during his 70 years of life.
After Avedon by British musician and composer Mark Simpson; based on a consideration of 4 photos by Richard Avedon, is an exuberant exercise in tone colour and dynamic range. The first piece concerning the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, had an emotional complexity that really resonated, with stunning contributions from the strings, perfectly complemented by the piano. It was a fitting tribute to the sacrifices, but enduring love of the couple. The following piece about a beekeeper was quite agitated and a little more challenging. The following two pieces concerning portraits of Francis Bacon, and Peter Orlovsky and Allen Ginsberg, had a lot of intensity, which at times was a little heavy but overall I enjoyed these works, with the first one standing out. The colours were magnificent and the Gould Trio were entirely engaged with the piece.
The recital concluded with Beethoven’s piano trio in G major Op1 No 2. Written in 1795, at the age of 25, Beethoven’s hearing was still intact, and he had met and likely studied with Haydn. Mozart had recently died and Beethoven studied Mozart’s work in earnest. Still a young man, the piano trios were his earlier but successful pieces introducing his style to the public. Beethoven remains one the most influential and famous composers of all time. The Gould trio again immaculate in their playing of this lively and passionate piece. A lovely musical rapport, they were a pleasure to listen to. The piece in the Washington post quoted in the Lammermuir Festival brochure is pretty accurate. As they say ,”the only comparison that comes to mind is the old Beaux arts trio; the combination of Jewel like precision and a musical fire that ignites from the first bar”.
Reviewer : Sophie Younger