Rochdale Music Society: The Fujita Piano Trio Concert

Date published: 16 October 2011

It is still a surprise to discover just how in tune with 18th and 19th century European music so many of our contemporary performers from such a different background as China and Japan can be. Like the three Fujita sisters from Japan, Arisa (Violin) Honoka (cello) and Megumi (piano), who were able to effortlessly bring to the ears of a receptive audience in the Heywood Civic Centre convincing and polished accounts of Trios by Mendelssohn and Clara Schumann as well as that of Mozart.

Mozart is all about precision and elegance. The sisters showed these in abundance throughout the three movements of this short Trio in C, which might be regarded as a light-hearted companion to his great ‘Jupiter’ Symphony in the same key and written around the same time. It provided a mouth-watering opening to an evening during which the musical possibilities of combining violin, cello and piano were well realised.

The G Minor Trio of Clara Schumann, the remarkable wife of Robert Schumann. Her work as a composer would surely have been very much more productive had she not devoted herself to supporting her husband and family of eight children by working for over 50 years as a concert pianist – one of the 19th century’s greatest. As it is, performances of her music are comparatively rare. The Fujita sisters do us all a great service by bring this essentially warm-hearted and beguiling work to our attention.

Mendelssohn, like Mozart, had but a brief life. Yet he left us a wealth of musical experiences to be enjoyed over and over again. The D minor Trio is a work filled with flowing and flowering melody in its outer movements, gently impressing in its slow lullaby-like second movement, and almost breath-taking in its mercurial scherzo. It is not the kind of masterpiece to set alongside Mendelssohn’s symphonies, Violin Concerto, Oratorios like ‘Elijah’ or the incidental music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. But, as the Fujita sisters amply demonstrated by their impassioned account, it is an excellent and substantial ingredient in a Piano Trio concert.

Those present will have been captivated by the musicianship and artistic insight of the performers on this rewarding occasion.

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