The Illusionist – Seraphim Trio – Elder Hall – 5 May

By Ben Nielsen

What better way to spend an overcast Sunday afternoon than with the Seraphim Trio. In their second concert series of 2013, the ensemble paid homage to the ‘magician of sounds’, Maurice Ravel.

Ravel was one of the most prominent Impressionist composers, but is perhaps best known for his arrangement of Pictures at an Exhibition and the orchestral work Bolero. Described by Stravinsky as “the most perfect of Swiss watchmakers”, Ravel’s sense of detail and perfectionism is well exhibited by Seraphim’s program selection.

trioIt is curious that Ravel’s three pieces, penned within a relatively short twenty year bracket, possess such stylistic contrast.

The mellifluousness of Jeux D’eau resolved an uncomfortable sparseness of Sonata for Violin and Cello, and then both were conquered by the virtuosic Trio in A Minor.

To a program dominated by a single composer, Benjamin Martin’s Cartoon was an unusual addition.

For the first time, Seraphim was seen in a variety of different configurations, performing first as string duo, then solo piano and finally piano trio. This provided a fascinating opportunity to observe the different capacities of each instrument and player.

Most enchanting was Anna Goldsworthy’s solo performance of Jeux D’eau. Ravel’s melody was as graceful and fluid as Goldsworthy was at the piano. A joy to watch.

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