2016 Chamber-Comp

Beethoven Chamber Music Masterclasses and Competition 2016

Monday 16 May 2016,  10am – 1pm & 2pm – 4pm
Tuesday 17 May 2016, 10am – 1pm & 2pm – 6pm

Wednesday 18 May 2016, 6pm

First Prize: Louko Piano Trio (RNCM) –  Erkki Louko (violin) | Waynne Woo Seok Kwon (cello) | Victor Lim (piano)
Second Prize: Amarins Wierdsma (violin) | Edward Liddall (piano) – Guildhall School of Music
Special mention: Jonel Manciu (violin) – Guildhall School Music of Music

The annual competition, held at Steinway Hall on 18 May in conjunction with the Piano Trio Society and EPTA West London, followed two days of masterclasses with the distinguished pianist Peter Frankl, who joined BPSE Vice-Chairman Alberto Portugheis on the Jury for the competition. Nine ensembles participated, each performing a duo sonata or trio of their choice, amounting to a rather extended evening of music making to regale a select Steinway Hall audience.

Framed by two contrasting accounts of the violin sonata in A Op 30/1, the all-Beethoven programme featured two trios, a cello and piano sonata and six violin piano sonatas. To open with Op 30/1 was the duo of Kamila Bydlowska, violin with Lucy Colquhuon, piano, engaging performance was followed by the particularly impressive Fiesole Piano Trio, who gave a warm hearted, expressive and witty account of the Op 1/3 trio, full of contrasts and fine tonal control.  Alexander Kirk’s pianism was incisive and polished, while Rosa Hartley, violinist, projected an appealing tone, responsively complemented by cellist Kieren Carter. Next was Sophie Leung, violin with Boya Yangh, piano in a propulsive account of the sonata in A minor Op. 23, with the cellos sonata OP 69 to follow. Here Hannah Watson’s pianism was noteworthy, always compelling and precise as support to Thomas Marlin’s cello, which gained in energy but seemed generally slightly thin in tone. Their drama of the Op 69 cello sonata was capped by the exciting and arresting account of the ‘Kreutzer sonata’ Op 47 by the violinist Jonel Manciu and Kaoru Wada, piano. This was a reading of large scale work that was full of felicities, clarity and impetus, reaching to the extreme registers with sonorous richness.

After a short interval, the duo of Corinna Hentschel, violin and Giulio Poggia, piano gave a forthright rendition of the power-packed sonata in C minor Op 30/2.  It was then the turn of the remarkable young Louko Trio whose uniquely involving account of Beethoven’s ‘Ghost’ trio, Op 70 no.1 enthralled the audience. Certainly the slow movement that gives the piece its name was full of suspense and whispered tension, the chromatic harmonies and subtle rhythms characterised with intensity; the motivic clarity of their first movement was impressive as was the remarkable transition from the slow movement into the exhilarating impetus of the driving finale.  The sprightly early sonata OP.12/3 was offered by Akerke Ospan, violin and Tamila Salimdjanova, piano. Yet it was the outstanding violin tone and matched responsiveness in the piano that gave a special aura to the duo of Amarins Wierdsma, violin with Edward Liddall, piano. Their interpretation of the A major sonata Op 30/1 displayed resilient supple tone and interplay between the players that gave this performance the edge.

Introducing the Jury decision, Alberto Portugheis thanked the BPSE guest artist Peter Frankl and emphasised how fortunate the BPSE were to have Peter Frankl as teacher for the masterclasses in which everyone had learned so much, and improved their styles. Peter Frankl, in his preamble to awarding the prizes, observed that in some cases the musical personalities were impressive but the task was to judge the ensemble playing. For that reason the first prize was awarded to the Louko Piano Trio, who, he believed, really listened to each other, giving a really enjoyable performance. Second prize went to the Wierdsma/Liddall duo, with special mention for artistry and personality going to Jonel Manciu. Prizes include cash awards and recitals as part of the BPSE series in London and around the UK, details to be announced on the website www.bpse.org.

Written by Malcolm Miller © 2016