January 30, 2003
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Concert review—
Osiris Piano Trio put on exciting evening of music

By Jean Putnam

The Osiris Piano Trio, a talented trio of musicians from Amsterdam, played the third concert in the Yellow Springs Chamber Music season last Sunday, Jan 26, at the First Presbyterian Church.

Despite some minor flaws at times seeming intrusive, it was a brilliant and exciting concert.

The players were Ellen Corver, piano, Peter Brunt, violin, and Larissa Groenveld, cello. All teach at the Royal Conservatory at the Hague, and have concertized individually. They have played together as a group since 1988.

Corver possesses a fantastic technique, the scales rippling under her fingers in bell-like evenness. She was able to achieve artful pianissimos when necessary. Her whole persona displayed confidence and élan in performing whatever the music indicated. It seemed to my ears that she became dominant in the opening piece, Beethoven’s Trio in C minor, Op.1 No. 3, and sustained this throughout the concert.

The other members of the trio played beautifully as well, but their solo passages were not always articulated clearly. Some of the fine cello solo parts played by Groenveld were so subdued that they could not always be heard. Brunt’s violin playing was excellent but could have spoken out more effectively.

Of course Beethoven was quite a pianist himself, playing so powerfully that he broke strings right and left. Perhaps his Op. 1 No. 3 was mainly written for the keyboard, with other instrumentalists only incidental? In addition, the wonderful grand piano donated for the concert might have had its top down, which may have lessened its thunder.

The second piece on the program, a delightful Trio on Irish Folk Tunes by Frank Martin (1890–1974) was new to me and is a piece I would like to hear again. It is full of Irish melodies set in natural minor keys (songs from earlier centuries, the program notes said) and dance music in uneven rhythms.

At the beginning of the Adagio we heard the rich cello solo in a mournful melody against a background of danceable rhythms. The closing Gigue was a coming together of all these components: wild dance music and fast melodies all played forte, making for an exciting finale.

The closing number of the concert, Schubert’s Trio in B flat, Op. 99, was jolly and jubilant. The Osiris Trio showed improved balance in this piece, I thought, and the cello and violin segments were suitably audible.

The enthusiastic audience demanded an encore. The musicians graciously played an excerpt from Dvoùrák’s Dumke Trio.