City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

EIF 2017: Trio Zimmerman, The Queen's Hall, Review

By David Charles - Posted on 25 August 2017

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Queen's Hall
Trio Zimmerman
Running time: 
Arnold Schoenberg, String Trio Op 45; Johann Sebastian Bach, Goldberg Variations
Frank Peter Zimmerman (violin) Antoine Tamestit (viola) Christian Poltera (cello)

The Queen's Hall was full to capacity, and the performance commenced on time at 11.00am. The String Trio recital opened with a vigorous and energetic start, and complemented shortly thereafter by a haunting and contemplative section. The audience clearly found the performance enthralling, with its building sense of momentum during various episodes, though mirrored by very reflective sections, and complemented further with soothing lyrical moments; this all created a musical roller-coaster for those evidently delighted to be part of it.

This first section finished at 11.25am before the interval, thus creating a slight disparity in time regarding the two halves. During Op 45, that the cellist dropped the used pages of music on the floor was rather distracting - this was the only untidy thing about the performance, and was corrected in the second half.

And so we then moved on to the Goldberg Variations - merry in character, and breathtakingly different to the mood of the first performance. We enjoyed warm atmosphere (both musically and physically!); and conventional harmonies, which is what we expect with Bach. The audience were captivated and transfixed, no doubt appreciating the different rythmatic and thematic structures employed.

Although Bach originally wrote the Goldberg Variations for a two-manual harpsichord, many subsequent musicians have taken up the challenge of re-imagining this arrangement for different instrumental combinations. Dimitri Sitkovetsky was one such, in rethinking Bach's music for string trio, but the performance we actually heard was the work of Trio Zimmerman themselves - though inspired by Sitkovetsky - and which returned to a reexamination and unveiling of Bach's original score.

The complexity and intensity of the performance was clearly admired by all - and evidenced by the sustained rounds of applause at the end.

Performance: Wednesday 23rd August at 11.00am