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Norfolk And Norwich Festival: La Mer Trio – Assembly House, Norwich

Renate Sokolovska: Flute

Maja Wegrzynowska: Viola

Hannah Stone: Harp

Reviewer: Michael Gray


The last of the 2012 Festival’s popular lunchtime concert series in the Assembly House was given by the La Mer Trio, formed in 2010.

In a varied, enjoyable programme, which featured Takemitsu as well as a new commission, they proved adventurous, imaginative musicians.

The new piece was Triptyque de la Lande, by Thomas Oehler, who was with us in the Assembly House for the performance. It was inspired by a moorland in Brittany, the three movements each evoking an image from that landscape. The first, Triskele, began with the harp softly strumming, then, after broken rhythms and truncated phrases, it developed urgent motifs which eventually sank back in repose. Dolmen had the viola’s lower register in soliloquy, with commentaries from flute and harp gradually asserting themselves, before the lively closing Korrigan dance.

The Takemitsu – “And Then I Knew ‘Twas Wind” – inhabits a different, dreamlike landscape, enhanced today by birdsong from outside the open windows. A homage to Claude Debussy, it also includes unusual effects on all three instruments, as well as many of Takemitsu’s trademark devices. Phrases were echoed and deformed, before flute and viola moved towards unison and the unanswered question at the end.

My favourite landscape, though, was Bax’s Edwardian watercolour world, his Elegiac Trio meandering through a post-romantic pastoral, beautifully evoked in a polished performance.

The Baroque was represented by a Leclair Trio Sonata, with its deliciously lazy largo Sarabande and energetic finale.

They ended their programme with a soundscape closer to their Debussy origins: Ravel’s familiar Tombeau de Couperin, crystal clear in this chamber version, with especially eloquent phrasing from the flute in the Rigaudon.

The La Mer Trio, all award-winning graduates from the Academy and Guildhall, are Renate Sokolovska, flute, Maja Wegrzynowska, viola and Hannah Stone, harp.

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One comment

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    I agree, the performance was great. The trio had really good dynamics, I though they were musical imaginative and accomplished the performance with top notch technique. I’d be happy to see them again, please come to London!