Violin, flute and piano at Wimbledon Common and Much Marcle


Southside House Wimbledon, and Hellens, Much Marcle

There is a new trio on the block, and this is no piano trio or string trio. Lana Trotovsek, Boris Bizjak and Maria Canyigueral are a refreshing and intriguing combination of violin, flute and piano, young, personable, and bringing both enthusiasm and top-class musicality to their performances.
Last weekend, they offered the same programme both in the elegant, be-chandeliered music-room of atmospheric Southside House on Wimbledon Common, and next afternoon in the differently atmospheric medieval Great Barn at Hellens in Much Marcle. Both concerts received rapturous receptions.
The acoustics were markedly different, Southside cosy and warm, Hellens clear and airy, but the instrumentalists successfully scaled their delivery to adjust to both.
Trotovsek and Bizjak launched proceedings with a Duo for Violin and Flute by Franz Hoffmeister, certainly a composer very much in the shadow of his great contemporary Mozart but one who turned out reams of highly attractive music. The rapport between the partners during the three movement's changing moods was infectiously communicative, and Bizjak's cavorting between the ranges was athletically gymnastic.
He was joined by Canyigueral for the touching Three Romances by Clara Schumann, music which is more than merely charming, the pianist matching her tone sensitively to the flautist's shading.
These were transcriptions of the violin and piano originals, and another transcription followed, Prokofiev's Sonata for Two Violins here with the flute in the guise of the second violin. This might well have been the premiere of such a version, which worked spectacularly well, performers instinctively alert to each other, and Trotovsek particularly biting and vicious in the more acerbic passages.
She was particularly careful to announce Beethoven's "Spring" Sonata as one for piano and violin, for indeed this is not one for violin and piano accompaniment, but a work in which piano and violin are equal partners. Canyigueral delineated her contribution beautifully, bringing an almost Chopinesque singing legato to the slow movement, and in the terse, quirky scherzo both performers capered like squirrels.
To Trotovsek's variety of tone and attack on her gut-stringed 1750 dalla Costa violin she added infectiously communicative body-language, not only sinuous in movement but also constantly alive in her eyes.
Another kind of choreography enlivened the finale, Bizjak swooping from side-to side as he brilliantly negotiated all the virtuosic display of Giulio Briccialdi's Carnival of Venice, designed to show off the capabilities of all the flute's revolutionary revampings at the start of the 19th century. This was a brilliant account, breathtaking for us, spectacularly breath-controlling for Bizjak, and Canyigueral was happy to take second place here with her supportive accompaniment.
Hellens had the benefit of a surprise encore, an improvised, soft jazz rendition of White Christmas from all three musicians – which they worked out only in the car travelling to the gig!
This was a triumphant weekend for the trio, and a triumph, too, for Adam Munthe, who had had the vision and faith to bring these amazing musicians to both these venues.
Christopher Morley

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