Festival review: Trio Zimmermann; Queen’s Hall

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IT’S strange to think that the pinnacle of this string trio recital by the high-calibre Trio Zimmermann was Schoenberg’s late-in-life contribution to the genre, especially with Schubert and Mozart propping up either side.

But it’s a fact – as proven in a recent Glasgow performance of his Violin Concerto – that today’s musicians, never mind today’s audiences, finally seem to get what really matters in Schoenberg’s music.

For here was a performance of the String Trio Op 45 that bore humanity and zeal, qualities that tore right to the heart of a work that journeys to extreme ends of the emotional spectrum.

From its frenzied start, through moments of warm introspection, even tenderness; from the nerve-jangling intensity of the steely ponticelli and the light-hearted relief of Viennese dance to the aching resignation of the closing bars; the hot combination of Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin), Antoine Tamestit (viola) and Christian Poltéra (cello) gave animated life to a stingingly evocative and compelling piece.

Schubert’s single-movement String Trio in B Flat seemed a little pale in comparison.

There were moments where it lost its incisive hold. But every detail counted in Mozart’s substantial Divertimento in E Flat.

Rating: * * * *