Review: Lawson Piano Trio. Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh. January 21.

There is a fair amount of mid to late twentieth century music in this season’s Lunchtime Chamber Music at Aldeburgh

to balance the mainstream string quartet repertoire, with a majority of the ensembles being awarded two consecutive recitals. This is good news. However, Friday’s recital , as well as containing such a work, was truly innovative in that it featured a piano trio for the first time in the history of these concerts.

The Lawson Piano Trio , chosen by the Concordia Foundation as 2010 Young Artists, is well known for championing

new music, and while Alan Rawsthorne’s Piano Trio of 1971 hardly qualifies as such, like much of his chamber music, it deserves to be heard more often.Immediately accessible, it is a compact work, despite its seven consecutive movements,with the distinctive voice and excellent craftsmanship that is Rawsthorne’s hallmark. The Lawson gave just the right degree of emphasis to the to the changes of mood in each of the movements in an immaculately prepared performance.Ensemble and intonation were excellent , and the balance near perfect, though the Jubilee hall acoustic seemed to favour the piano somewhat.

The same might also be said of their reading of Schubert’s mighty Piano Trio in B flat. There was an attractive freshness to their performance coupled with a warm lyrical sound and well judged tempi, though it lacked as yet that quality of spontaneity of a really great performance.

Frank Cliff