Review of Fair Trade Trio’s concert, by Deryk Barker

We like to thank Deryk Barker for his time and commitment to reviewing our very first Summer Serenade concert, with the Fair Trade Trio. Find the first part of his review below, or go straight to the full review by clicking here.

The string trio as we know it today evolved from the Baroque trio sonata in the eighteenth century. The first trios were for two violins and cello; Joseph Haydn in the 1760s is believed to have been the first to compose a work for violin, viola and cello, quickly followed by others such as Le Duc and Boccherini, before Mozart composed what The New Grove describes as “the highpoint of the string trio repertoire”, his Divertimento, K.563.

Despite the possibilities demonstrated by Mozart, the string trio has always been the poor relation in comparison with its sibling, the string quartet. Most composers of string trios have written rather more quartets; some, like Beethoven, appear to have written trios as a sort of apprenticeship before progressing to quartets.

In fact Beethoven wrote all five of his works for string trio – Op.3, the Serenade Op.8 and the three trios of Op.9 – before embarking on his Op.18 set of quartets.

Of Beethoven’s Op.9 only the first and last trios have established a anything approaching a foothold in the repertoire, so the fact that the Fair Trade Trio opened their recital on Friday with number two was especially gratifying.

As was their playing. After the work’s graceful introduction, the first movement allegretto was lively but not driven, thus neatly avoiding the pitfall all too many ensembles fall into when playing early Beethoven. The balance and blend of the three instruments – violinist Ashley Windle and violist Kallie Ciechomski stood, while cellist Jeanette Stension sat on a low platform facing the audience – was exemplary.

Read more of Deryk Barker’s review at “Music in Victoria”: