Review: Hepplewhite Piano Trio, at Birmingham Town Hall

‘Happy Birthday’ dear Mendelssohn and what a delightful way to celebrate 203 years on, with a performance of his Piano Trio no.2 as part of a lovely programme offered by the Hepplewhite Piano Trio.

Prizewinners from the Birmingham Conservatoire, this up and coming young chamber group, formed in 2009, is rapidly gaining recognition.

A well-balanced programme began with Haydn’s delightful Trio in G, known affectionately as the ‘Gypsy Rondo’ for its famous final movement, full of fun and obviously enjoyed by the performers.

An 18th century approach was beautifully crafted throughout by violinist Amy Littlewood, matched by sensitive partnership from cellist Hetti Price.

Shostakovitch was just seventeen when he composed his thought-provoking Piano Trio no 1.

Hair-raising piano writing was conquered with calm aplomb by Fan Yu, pianissmos coming from nowhere and a general air of mystery giving us fascinating hints of the future rebel composer.

Brightness of the violin tone at times was at odds however, with the more mellow cello, but all technique was dazzling throughout.

‘With fire’ as requested by Mendelssohn could have been more scary, dare to let go and be more overtly passionate. Remember, he is for ever a youthful composer.

A shimmering gorgeous final movement left us with smiles and a further delight with the delicious encore of a Frank Bridge ‘Miniature’.