Royal Conservatoire Scotland
23rd November 2018
The first sight to greet us as we entered the Royal Conservatoire’s Stevenson Hall was a black grand piano, centre stage, with music stands and seats all ready for the day’s Friday’s at One performance. The Rembrandt Trio; Adelina Hasani (violin), Paul Uyterlinde (cello) and Fali Pavri (piano) came together in 2016, inspired by the interplay between light and dark as demonstrated by the Dutch Masters of the 17th century.
The three took their places in the large space with its stark bare brick walls, violin and cello to the front, and started gently plucking notes and chords, the cello’s tones deeply resonating with the piano and violin. It would be the music itself, without lyrics, which would present to us the concept of bringing Rembrandt to life through music – the ultimate goal of the performance. The programme consisted of Ravel’s Piano Trio in A Minor, written in 1914 and completed in a hurry, spurred on by the outbreak of the First World War and the composer’s intention to enlist in the army. This was followed by the world premier of a new work commissioned by the group, “Three Faces in the Crowd” by Rory Boyle.
The performance itself was full of contrasts – the light and dark – with the focus now on one, now on another of the trio as they expressed the various themes expressed in the music. We were treated to plenty of drama as well as sad, even despairing themes that were contained in the music. Returning also to very beautiful sounds that fell like autumn leaves echoing through our ears. The whole experience was somehow very atmospheric, helped by the wonderful acoustics of this, the RC’s main venue, as well as the visual impact of the men’s black suits contrasting with Adelina’s plush green and black ankle length gown.
The second part of the programme “Three Faces in the Crowd” was dedicated to Rembrandt’s famous painting “The Night Watch” (1642), which was projected on the large screen at the back, adding another element of excitement. Composer Rory found this painting to be the “ultimate” crowd scene and this was reflected in the music as it explored three of the characters who were part of the large crowd. This concept was rather endearing and I found myself wondering what these individuals might have been thinking at that moment. The whole composition worked wonderfully well as a piece of storytelling, delivered to a very relaxed audience.
This show was a treat for the ears – packed with drama, virtuosity and sheer heart, which could not fail to move and inspire its audience. And all achieved and accomplished within the space of an hour on a Friday lunchtime.