The Australian

February 2016

Lyrebird Trio: Music by Beethoven, Westlake, Smetana

This debut recording by the Lyrebird Trio is a cause for celebration beyond its trifecta wins at the quadrennial Asia-Pacific Chamber Music Competition in 2013. Part of that award was a season at the renowned Banff Centre in Canada.

Following a successful residency in early 2014, the trio returned a year later and this album was recorded in the superb acoustic of the Rolston Recital Hall there. The trio comprises three young musicians who met at the Queensland Conservatorium, where they are now ensemble-in-residence: violinist Glenn Christensen plays with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, cellist Simon Cobcroft is the Adelaide Symphony’s principal cello and pianist Angela Turner has appeared in every conceivable role at the Queensland Con. The three works in their debut recording illustrate the richness of their collective and individual talents.

Opening with Beethoven’s so-called Ghost Trio, Op 70, No 1, plays to their fresh approach to the classical repertoire, clean and devoid of hypersensitivity. Nigel Westlake’s Trio is a disappointment, cobbled together of too many scraps of Messiaen, Prokofiev and thinly described nods at Westlake’s eminent career as a film composer. More rewarding is Smetana’s rarely recorded Trio in G minor, Op 15. At 30 minutes, it is virtually a piano concerto with string accompaniment and Turner captures its torrents of storms and exhausting mood swings as graphically as her painter namesake.

Vincent Plush

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