Ravel: Miroirs, Sonata for Violin and Cello, Piano Trio in A minor

Osborne Weithaas Tetzlaff Trio

Queen's Hall, 24 August 2011 4 stars

WeithaasAn all Ravel recital was offered by the Osborne Weithaas Tetzlaff Trio at Tuesday morning's Edinburgh International Festival recital.

Pianist Steven Osborne opened the programme with the piano suite Miroirs, a work of virtuosic splendour. Beginning with a quiet dreaminess, Osborne performed each movement with a subtle finesse. He showcased his gentle nature, whilst overall creating an enthralling sense of serenity. However, soon his full range of expression was evident, as the soft sentiments in the first and second pieces turned to undulating waves of crescendos in the third, with the prolonged arpeggiated passages feeling particularly strong.

'Alborado del gracioso', the most daunting of the five pieces, is also the most captivating. Through its vibrant and complex Spanish rhythms, the piece moves forward with vigour and a playful tenacity. Ending on a soft note with the sonorous harmonies of the 'bells' in the final piece, Osborne delighted the audience with this clear and refreshing performance.

The Sonata for Violin and Cello followed with Antje Weithaas on violin and Tanja Tetzlaff on cello. This unusual work is an exercise in rhythmic and harmonic counterpoint with experimentation in dissonance. The duo performed brilliantly, with the slow third movement as the standout. The movement began simply, but moved deeper into dissonance before returning to the modal opening section, this time muted. The movement further revealed the exquisite partnership between Weithaas and Tetzlaff. The finale exhibited the mechanical and simultaneously comical nature of the work with bouncy, rhythmic counterpoint.

Finally, the Piano Trio dedicated to André Gedalge, Ravel's counterpoint teacher. The Trio granted the three musicians the opportunity to showcase their ability performing together. A wonderful balance was achieved, with Osborne never overbearing, rather sounding complementary and supportive, and Weithaas and Tetzlaff equally rich in texture and colour. Alternating metres and key signatures throughout allowed the musicians' technical skills to shine through, as the soaring climaxes gave passionate life to the work.

Overall, an impressive exploratory programme of some of Ravel's most intriguing works. It is obvious that all three musicians are great soloists in their own right. Together, they form a sensational trio.

By Theresa Steward

Photo: Antje Weithaas


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