Brahms Piano Trio

City Chambers, Recital Hall, Glasgow
3rd November, 2022

Glasgow City Centre was enjoying a nice evening as I made my way to the City Halls to go and hear ‘Brahms Piano Trio’. There was a great queue lined up for a main hall concert, I got my ticket and headed for the 1st floor recital room; taking a seat in the back row of the smaller hall I settled in and took a look around.

At the piano and at floor level sat Graeme McNaught, on Cello was Abigail Hayward and across from her sat on violin was Agnieszka Opiola. The celebrated talent of the three took hold of some amazing music.

Johannes Brahms was a German Composer of some renown known as of the Mid Romantic period. He is famous for his piano composition and for the evening we were treated to one such performance. On the programme were French composer Gabriel Faure and Norway’s Edvard Grieg’s. The emphasis of the trio central to the music reflected 3 instruments, 3 composers and 3 contrasting portraits.

The all white room and tall ceiling shed a light from high up as to give a transient mood to hold the music. No one was more taken away than the performers with their instruments.

I felt very much a part of the room in the still and silent audience sharing the stories of real human trial up and down to tear jerking effect. Little aspects were in fluency from heads bobbing to seeing the violin bow furiously appearing just above the audience line. The joy could be felt as each aspect revealed itself and every string brought out the charming story.

Brahms’ ability to comprehend opened up great challenges for him and I can’t help but feel a little rebellion yet humbleness in his choice of instrument, famously on the piano. He made it with integrity and moved through any and all subject available in the enlightened period of the 1800’s.

When I went to this gig, a beautiful recital, I internally asked for something fresh and new, how greatly music can be as it stands the test of time to always take over and make expression into a perfect composition.

Brahms was able to put together intensely interesting themes that you felt covers existence itself, both large and out there, and small and tenderly gentle. I witnessed a performance to express a loyal attachment to just how great he was; tuning into something to follow and spur out of as leads fluttered in the air and flew around those awesome instruments. It was breathtaking, honest and unbelievably intact.

In a splendid evening that went without frivolity, just straight forward music, I’d say make the choice of experiencing a gig like this like if for nothing else than to relax deeply and enjoy your ears, or to see effort and discipline in action. I caught a glance a couple of times of the three, and saw the profound tension of concentration on their faces, this drew me in to a feeling of compassion that seemed hard to bare, the bodies and the music sprang as if out of nowhere.

The direction of emotional content had such a power, again coming from the effort of skill, talent and a growing love. The life of the tunes rang out without a need for spoken narrative, yet the ability to story tell hit all the height’s that Brahms fame deserves, in the greatest collaboration possible fit to compete with so many other composers. The magically, majestically charged evening took its hold of a three together, that could only be carved by 3.

I helpfully slid down the page of the programme that explained the movements of Allegro, Troppo and so many other plot parts who were looking forward to play with beauty enough, pace, tones and thrill. Holding tension, finding unison and blessing the room in abundance of drama, exploration and well being (hope). Quietly they were all pulling back to find the joy in loudly letting loose.

The accolades melted out of his composition, faithfully played so long after his life. In music we call praise worthy, in brilliant intense intimacy enhanced by the size of the room. A simple act of purchasing a ticket that holds an invitation worthwhile accepting for all the reasons you can imagine, to enjoy the profundity of music told as a story that placed itself far beyond in thought or very near to something growing roots in you and in your head and heart and to part of this ever so professional entourage of three, whether you see this particular composer or another.

Daniel Donnelly

One thought on “Brahms Piano Trio”

  1. Daniel, while I don’t understand everything, your personal, touching response to our evening of music makes me very happy. Thank you for attending, for understanding the point of it all and for sharing your own response in such an honest and though-provoking review.

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