Classical review: Artisan Trio, Edinburgh

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THE Artisan Trio’s early evening concert series has delivered a fascinating format. Each concert has featured a commission from an Edinburgh-connected composer, who in turn has “curated” the overall programme.

Artisan Trio

St Andrews and St Georges, Edinburgh

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Last night’s final programme centred on Cornish-born Suzanne Parry.

Her own work – the highly atmospheric Haul Away for Heaven, based on a beautiful rediscovered Cornish shanty – was an exhilarating extension of piano trio writing, given that each of its constituents (violinist Aisling O’Dea, cellist Clea Friend and pianist Svetoslav Todorov) were required to sing as well.

What transpired was a mystical and ghostly evocation of lost souls, distant bells and haunting timelessness portrayed in a musical language that married innocent tunefulness with exquisite, unconventional imagery, right down to the wailing seagulls.

Parry chose an accompanying cocktail of Walton, Ireland and Oliver Knussen. Knussen’s gestural Secret Psalm, played meatily on solo violin by O’Dea, created an atmospheric overture, the straight quote from Bruch’s Violin Concerto at the end surprisingly potent.

The full trio captured the irresistible sweetness of Ireland’s “Piano Trio No 3”, but didn’t quite convey the full emotive power of its sweeping romanticism, preferring neatness and composure to full-blown passion. And the structural proportions of Walton’s Passacaglia for solo cello were a little obscured in Friend’s otherwise punchy solo performance