Fringe Music

Beethoven for Breakfast

Royal Over-Seas League

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Hazel Rowland

three stars

COMPOSED over a century apart, Beethoven’s highly classical Piano Trio in E-flat and Ravel’s stylishly French A minor Piano Trio prove how diverse this genre can be. But this was not the only reason behind the two-sided performance given by the Aurelian Trio as part of the Royal Over-Seas League’s series of Edinburgh Fringe recitals, as it quickly became clear that these young musicians were far more comfortable with one work than the other.

They appeared nervous, looking as though they rather wished that the audience were not there, and their shyness carried over into the performance of Beethoven’s Piano Trio, as both violinist April Ju and cellist Matthias Balzat were reluctant to enter the limelight and really sing during their solo passages. This become especially obvious during the slow, second movement, when the nervous string playing resulted in a brash rather than delicate sound, although pianist Delvan Lin compensated for this somewhat through the sweetness of his solo passages.

A completely different side to the Aurelian Trio was revealed in Ravel’s Piano Trio. It is a challenging work that perhaps provided this young trio with greater inspiration. Ju and Balzat now played with almost unrecognisable confidence: instead of shying away, they relished their turn at taking the melody. Balzat generated some gorgeously rich low notes on his cello, while both string players luxuriated in Ravel’s exquisite duet writing. In the second movement, the trio succeeded in being both spritely and weighty, while in the slow third movement they produced an impressive amount of expression from Ravel’s simple and repetitive melody – the gradual increase in volume was particularly thrilling.