Fujita Piano Trio19:30 on Tuesday, 23rd March 2010
The Fujita sisters from Japan have been playing together since early childhood. They have performed at all the major London venues since their Wigmore Hall debut in 1999 and continue to give concerts throughout the UK and world wide.
The final concert of Skipton Music, given by the Fujita Piano Trio was a fitting climax of a most successful season. The Fujita Trio play without music and this alone marks them as different from standard ensembles. The trio is made up of three sisters and their splendid rapport is always evident.
They began with Beethoven's Archduke Trio - one of Beethoven's greatest, yet most approachable of works. There was an inherent femininity in the playing that gave the music an added elegance and distinctive character. Playing from memory and communicating by eye contact as well as sound, conveyed the intimacy that is one of the most desired constituents of chamber music, particularly when it is performed in the formal situation on a platform with the audience seated in regimented rows. There was no attempt to add orchestral dimensions to Beethoven’s masterpiece; it remained in the framework of the trio ensemble, without sacrificing the excitement and overall grandeur of the music.
The Piano Trio No. 2 Opus 121, written by Arthur Butterworth in 2004, was new to the Trio and for this work they played from music. Twenty-first century music can so often seem unconnected from the twenty-first century audiences. However Arthur Butterworth's style is so firmly rooted in good classical practice that it makes immediate contact with the listener. It is neither eclectic, gimmicky nor derivative, but has a maturity and style of its own that was obviously enjoyed by the players, who exploited the colours and freshness of the textures and tonalities. The Butterworth Trio formed the link between the Beethoven and Shostakovich's Trio No. 2, and it stood splendidly between these two giants in the chamber music repertoire.
Shostakovich's 2nd Trio is not an anodyne work. It is dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust and consequently the emotions of despair, outrage and grief are ever present. Astringent moments abound and the bitterness of loss permeates the structure. It is not easy to make such deep and desperate emotions beautiful, but the Fujita Trio achieved a haunting loveliness from the anguish and desolation.
There was no feeling of technical stress or lack of unanimity in any part of this programme. It was Chamber Music at its very best.