London Piano Trio
26th of June 2016
The London Piano Trio was formed in 1997 by three of London’s foremost musicians. For the past eighteen years the trio have been touring, recording, and teaching across the globe to rave reviews. ”Simply World Class” is the description made by the Germany press of the London Piano Trio’s Frankfurt debut. At home they have been described as a ” National Treasure”. Current activities include a residencies at the Danbury Festival, Essex and St John’s Smith Square, London.
Noted for the warmth and richness of their sound, and innovative interpretations, they are much sought-after performers on the world’s most celebrated stages.
They have performed all over Europe, Canada, America, South America, The Far East and Australia.
Champions of the under dog, the trio have made a point of promoting new music and composers who might have been forgotten through the passing of time.
Already in the catalogue are the complete trios of Cecil Armstrong Gibbs, Donald Francis Tovey, and Henry Cotter Nixon, plus commissions by composers such as Christopher Gunning, Clement Ishmael, and Jed Balsamo.
Collaborations is a new and exciting string to their bow working with famous Italian actress Milena Vukotic and Ballet Manila on a number of specially commissioned works.
For further information please visit: www.londonpianotrio.com
The violinist Robert Atchison was born in London and studied music from a young age.
He made his London debut in 1983 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall playing the Beethoven concerto and in 1984 at the Barbican with Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. He joined the Philharmonia Orchestra in 1984 and remained there until 1990. From 1991 to 1997 he was a member of all three orchestras of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, and was co-principal to Iona Brown. In 1993 he was appointed Director of the Spanish Chamber Orchestra, appearing frequently as soloist. Since then he has had a busy chamber and solo career. Atchison was appointed as the Artistic Director of the Gibbs Music Festival, Danbury, Essex in 2008 which runs biannually to packed houses. From 2006 – 2009 he was Artistic Director of the International Music Series at the Certosa di Capri, Italy. As a conductor Mr Atchison has conducted many orchestras including the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and the Philippine Philharmonic. He records regularly for many companies and a number of recordings are planned as a conductor over the next few years . He also holds the post of conductor of the Danbury Festival Orchestra. His own orchestra, the Altamira Chamber Orchestra was launched in the summer of 2009, with whom he recently recorded the Vivaldi Four Seasons with Sir Michael Gambon narrating the sonnets, which has received rave reviews.
The pianist Olga Dudnik was born in the Ukraine into a family of professional musicians and from an early age gave concerts in the most prestigious musical venues across the Soviet Union. She studied at the Special Music School for Gifted Children in Kiev where she received the Gold Medal for Excellence and at sixteen she won the Ukraine Piano Competition. In 1990 Olga continued her studies with Alexander Volkov at the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University. In 1993 she moved to London where she undertook Advanced Solo Studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with James Gibb and was awarded the ‘Premier Prix’ on completion of the course. Later she continued her studies at the Royal College of Music with Irina Zaritskaya, where she gained an M. Mus. in Advanced Performance. In competitions Olga is especially proud of the first prize in the Arianne Katz Competition (1992) and prizes in the Young Soloist of the Year (1996) and Hong Kong International Piano Competition(1997). Olga made her Purcell Room and Wigmore Hall debuts with a BBC live broadcast and has appeared with numerous orchestras, including the London Philharmonic at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Since 1999 she has been on the staff of the Guildhall School and combines a teaching career with a busy schedule of recitals and concerto and ensemble appearances across Europe. Her recordings include concertos by William Wallace and Christopher Gunning.
The cellist David Jones was Born in Shrewsbury. He started to learn the cello at an early age. David went on to study chemistry at Salford university before deciding to pursue a career as a ‘cellist. He joined the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester under the tutelage of Moray Welsh. During this time he also attended summer courses in Perugia, Italy under David Geringas. Whilst at the RNCM David succeeded in becoming a finalist in the LSO Shell strings competition. After completing his degree David held the position of co-principal ‘cello both with the Halle and then the Philharmonia orchestra of London. The latter of which he played solos on many recordings including Liszt & Schoenberg concertos with Emanuel Ax on Sony and Tchaikovsky’s 2nd concerto on BMG with Barry Douglas, piano and Bradley Creswick, violin. David was the ‘cellist in the London Ensemble 1994-2005 and made many trips to Japan to rave receives.David gives regular recital performances and is often heard on radio both in Britain and abroad most recently performing Dvorak, Boccherini, Tchaikovsky Rococo variations and the Brahms double concerto. Since 2002 David has been Associate principal ‘cello of the Royal Opera House orchestra, Covent Garden. He was appointed cellist in the London Piano Trio in the spring of 2009.
Ryuichi Sakamoto 1919
Ryuichi Sakamoto, born January 17, 1952, is a Japanese musician, activist, composer, record producer, writer, singer, pianist, and actor based in Tokyo and New York. Beginning his career in 1978 as a member of the electronic music group Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO), Sakamoto served on keyboards and sometimes vocals. The band was an international success, with worldwide hits such as “Computer Game / Firecracker” (1978) and “Behind the Mask” (1978), later playing a pioneering role in the techno and acid house movements of the 1990s. He concurrently pursued a solo career, debuting with the experimental electronic fusion album Thousand Knives (1978), and later released the pioneering album B-2 Unit (1980), which included the electro classic “Riot in Lagos”. From thereon, he produced more solo records, collaborated with many international artists, and pursued a wide variety of projects, such as having composed music for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics opening ceremony. His composition “Energy Flow” (1999) (also known as the alternative title of the single disc Ura BTTB) was the first instrumental number-one single in Japan’s Oricon charts history.
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Trio No. 5 in D major, Op. 70, No. 1, Ghost
Composed in 1808, when Beethoven was around 38 years old
And there you have the whole secret of Beethoven. He could design patterns with the best of them; he could write music whose beauty will last you all your life; he could take the driest sticks of themes and work them up so interestingly that you find something new in them at the hundredth hearing; in short, you can say of him all that you can say of the greatest pattern composers; but his diagnostic, the thing that marks him out from all the others, is his disturbing quality, his power of unsettling us and imposing his giant moods on us.”
– George Bernard Shaw
Shaw’s inimitable quote is perhaps the most pithy, complex and perfect description of Beethoven’s music ever penned. And it admirably applies to the “Ghost” trio in every way, particularly “sticks” of themes and giant moods, what to speak of beauty and infinite discovery. The Geistertrio is one of two piano trios Beethoven published as Op. 70 in 1808 at the height of his “heroic” middle period. As with the Eroica Symphony and the Razumovsky quartets before them, these trios represent Beethoven’s great expansion of the genre with fresh depths and lengths of music previously unbroached (and subject to further expansion in the final Archduke). Of the three magisterial last trios, the Ghost may be the most special.
The name “Ghost” is an historical accretion applied to the middle movement, an astonishingly ominous, stark and intense black hole: a giant mood warping the gravity of the entire work. Almost terrifying, its suspense easily suggests a spectral visitation that may have been inspired by Beethoven’s contemporaneous, unfinished attempts to compose music for Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The essence of the music derives from two fragmentary sticks of motif along with superbly eerie piano figurations that invest the momentum with an unsettling, transfixing pulse. There are brief moments of noble courage but they are extinguished by doom. And for a final nail in the coffin, Beethoven feigns a characteristic “rescue” modulation as a bridge into the last movement, but this is likewise abruptly thwarted, silenced in a “ghostly” mist.
The outer movements impose gigantic moods that are polar opposites of the ghost: sweeping, exuberant grandeur though, as always with Beethoven, strongly articulated by dynamic and dramatic contrasts of great range. Remarkably, both movements are built from more “sticks” of themes that begin as mere gestures and end as noble mottos. The musical means are astonishingly minimal with the germinal materials revealed in full within the first few bars. Both outer movements begin with restless, spring-loaded mini-expositions that unroll into rich skeins of development full of middle-period pyrotechnics on a grand scale. Ultimately, as Shaw observed: dead simple “dry” patterns achieve enough beauty to last a lifetime.
Antonín Leopold Dvořák
Piano Trio in E Minor, Op. 90 “Dumky”
Dvorak began working on his sixth piano trio (today the fourth in existence), with its subtitle “Dumky” (“Dumkas”), immediately after completing his Requiem, in November 1890. It took him less than three months to complete, and this including an extended break from his endeavours. As he progressed Dvorak informed his friend Gobl that he was working on a new composition which he characterised as “a little piece for violin, cello and piano. It will be both happy and sad. In some places it will be like a melancholic song, elsewhere like a merry dance; but, all told, the style will be lighter or, if I might put it another way, more popular, in short, so that it will appeal to both higher and lower echelons.” The mention of this deliberate “lightness” of style might explain why the highly popular “Dumky” has, in the long term, eclipsed the composer’s masterpiece, the Piano Trio in F minor, even though it cannot match its sophistication, the gravity of its musical testimony or its intellectual depth. The premiere of the “Dumky” was performed just two months after Dvorak had completed the score, in Prague on 11 April 1891, during a gala evening held in his honour – Dvorak had recently been awarded an honorary degree from Prague’s university. Dvorak himself sat at the piano for the premiere. This was not the last time that he performed this work in public: we have documentation which confirms that Dvorak performed his “Dumky” at the piano on forty-four occasions. The majority of these were part of an extended “farewell” concert tour of Czech and Moravian towns and cities which the composer organised in the spring of 1892 before his departure for the United States. The trio was published in 1894 by Berlin-based publisher Simrock. At this time Dvorak was still in the United States, so the corrections were selflessly carried out by his friend, Johannes Brahms.
The word “dumka” is the diminutive of the Ukrainian word “duma” (meaning “thought”, “idea”, “reflection”, “contemplation”) which will be found in various mutations in other Slav languages (the Czech “dumat” means “to ponder” or “to contemplate”). In musical terms, the word originally refers to a specific type of Ukrainian (Little Russian) song form which is typical for its leisurely tempo and meditative, melancholic character. During the course of the 19th century, the dumka was transferred to higher artistic genres by composers – largely Slavs themselves – who drew inspiration from it: Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Chopin, Janacek and, most notably, Antonin Dvorak.