Musical Opinion | 01 Jun 2007

It was a pity the programme by the Absolut Trio at the Wigmore Hall on 5 April did not attract a larger audience, for the musicianship displayed by the three ladies who comprise its members was very high indeed. They began with a most admirable performance of Beethoven’s Ghost Trio, first rate in every way. Then followed a new work by the Swiss composer Rudolf Kelterborn, 15 Moments Musicaux for Piano Trio, composed last year and receiving its UK Premiere. This epigrammatic set would probably make a greater impact through the medium of recording, as the work’s fragmentary nature calls for much stopping, page-turning and starting again to maintain such coherence as it might possess. None the less, the piece is full of texturally fascinating ideas. Finally came a very welcome rarity, Schönberg’s Verklärte Nacht in the transcription for Piano Trio by Eduard Steuermann, made I assume with the composer’s approval and surely his enthusiastic endorsement, for the result is an astonishing contribution to the Piano Trio repertoire. So superbly did Steuermann do his job that one might be forgiven for thinking Schönberg originally conceived the work for Piano Trio before making the familiar version. The performance by the Absolut Trio was consistently fine in every regard, confirming the excellent impressions given in the first half. I hope they have the opportunity of recording this version; it would be an important addition to the catalogue. This ensemble is of the highest class and I look forward to hearing them again in London very soon. Robert Matthew-Walker