The London Piano Trio have acquired a strong national and international following since they first got together over 20 years ago, but have decided they would now like to spend some time by the sea.
It was as a result of this that I found myself with them in St Leonards, rehearsing for the first concert which they are due to give at Opus Theatre on Saturday, December 7.
Though the trio have changed personnel over the years the present musicians have actually known each other for a long time and worked together in other circumstances.
Founded by violinist Robert Atchison, cellist David Jones joined the trio about ten years ago and pianist Frances Rayner is the most recent member. He also creates the link with Hastings as he is a well-known professional pianist seen regularly in concerts across the 1066 area.
We talked about their plans. “This concert gives us a chance to test the water in the hope that we might be able to run a series at the Opus,” said Robert. “We toured Italy very successfully last year to well attended concerts and would like to bring the same cycle of performances to this country. With the Beethoven anniversary coming up in 2020 it will be a good time to promote a Beethoven cycle.”
One of the challenges will be attracting an audience to chamber music, which is more rarely heard in the Hastings area: “We have deliberately chosen not to launch with a popular programme so much as one which has outstanding music from a variety of composers and which will engage the audience and perhaps challenge them. The opening Beethoven Trio is darker than some of the others and a complement to the Shostakovich trio which follows. The second half is taken up by the radiant Schubert Trio No1 in B Flat, which luxuriates across some 40 minutes with the requisite four-movements written in Schubert’s ‘late’ romantic style. A work full of rich harmony and fabulous melodies that will ring out in the superb acoustic of the Opus Theatre.
“If, as we very much hope, the venture is successful, we would like to extend our work out to other venues on the South Coast – but for the moment we want to ensure that Hastings has the best we can bring to it.”
‘Something wicked this way comes’: Macbeth in Bexhill. Click here to read more.
Rufus Wainwright booked for Hastings International Piano Festival. Click here to read more.