north east scotland's festival of new music

press reviews

Rautio Piano Trio

Written by Alan Cooper


The Rautio Piano Trio offered a bright fresh sounding patina to each of the three pieces they played at Saturday's Lunchbreak Concert, another in the series given in association with the Sound Festival. Their performance of an Andante by Beethoven played as an encore confirmed this freshness to be the true hallmark of all their playing.

They opened the concert with a piece by Joe Duddell entitled Nightswimming. There were definite suggestions of minimalism, one of the special themes of this year's Sound, especially in the finale. The original intention of the composer to write an extended Nocturne was clearly expounded in the attractive soft chording of the opening slow section. In the faster sections the piano writing had a definite liquid feel to it while the short surging phrases for strings could indeed suggest the efforts of a swimmer. The second slow passage was marked by nice full-flavoured part writing before the finale which had the cello carrying the firmest minimalist input.

If the piano suggested liquidness in Joe Duddell's piece it delivered more of a brittle glassy texture in much of John Casken's Piano Trio. The derivation of much of its material from Casken's second opera God's Liar left its firm dramatic imprint on the music. The five movements are bound together thematically with Shadows, Dreams and Memories, the first, third and fifth movements contrasting with the impetus of the second and fourth movements Striding the Line and Dancing the Line which were particularly well titled for the music they contained. In the third movement Dreams the almost cold detached piano writing contrasted with the passionate more melodic playing of the strings. Dramatic exclamations led by the piano in the final movement led into a slow more harmonically soft textured finale. Of the two new pieces, this was the richer and more adventurous but both were given exceptional clarity and transparency by the Rautio Trio - and their Beethoven was a real treat with which to conclude a compelling performance.

  • published on 6 November 2010
  • written by Alan Cooper

Reproduced with permission of the author.

reviewed event
  Date Day Time Location Event Details
6Sat 1.00 pmAberdeenRautio Piano Trio