International Musicians' Seminar St John's Church, Truro
Review by Eric Dare
"THIS is how it's done," the maestri might well have said to the international students. To judge from their cheering applause in St John's Church, Truro, they were clearly impressed; and so were we for this opening concert of the Spring International Musicians' Seminar.
It began with a popular Piano Trio by Beethoven, Op 1 No 3 in C minor, in which the players demonstrated the infectious trait of the IMS when top-class professionals in their ad hoc groups are clearly enjoying themselves: it's their delight that adds to ours.
After the introductory bars, and with a stamp of her foot, Krysia Osostowicz, violin, certainly noted the 'con brio' marking of the opening Allegro leading her partners, Ralph Kirshbaum, cello, and Thomas Adès, piano, with engaging vigour. But whether fast or slow, as in the beautiful lyrical Andante with variations, the precision, clarity of lines made it a memorable performance.
Kirshbaum returned with Simon Parkin for another early Beethoven work, his Sonata for Cello and Piano in G minor Op 5 No 2, which gave the cellist a better chance to show his virtuosity than in the Trio where the cello part is understated.
Another popular Beethoven work ended the concert, Violin Sonata No 9 in A Op 47 ("Kreutzer") with András Keller, violin, and Greta Dowdeswell, piano. As in the earlier Trio, the second movement, a series of variations, before the final Presto, was particularly attractive, giving the string player the chance to show a variety of techniques.
Benjamin Britten's "Lachrymae" for Viola and Piano, interrupted the Beethoven programme and brought a quite different experience. Once again, this is a work of variations, though we wait until the final section to hear the inspirational theme, Dowland's Flow My Teares. Instead, the tearful Lento at the start sets the mood played here and throughout with utmost delicacy in a brilliant performance by Lars Anders Tomter with Thomas Adès, piano. This was one of the best IMS concerts I can remember, although the final maestri concert in Marazion with the IMS artistic director, Steven Isserlis, and the likes of András Schiff, will also be splendid – no wonder it was quickly sold out.
The concerts that remain are at St Mary's Church, Penzance (tonight), Truro School (Thursday) and by the maestri at Marazion Community Centre on Saturday, all starting at 7.30pm. The nine autumn concerts by IMS will be from September 12 to 28 at St Gluvias, St Michael's Mount, St Hilary, Marazion, Truro, St Buryan, Porthleven, Paul and the Hall For Cornwall.