EIF 4: Luxurious Playing from Zimmermann Trio





United KingdomUnited Kingdom Schubert, Schoenberg, Mozart: Trio Zimmerman (Franz Peter Zimmermann – violin, Antoine Tamestit – viola, Christian Poltéra – cello), Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, 13.8.2012 (SRT)

Schubert: String Trio in B flat D471
Schoenberg: String Trio
Mozart: Divertimento for string trio in E flat K563


Trio Zimmerman Photo Credit: Mats Baecker

Star soloists don’t always make good chamber musicians, but in the case of Frank Peter Zimmerman and his colleagues, they most certainly do. A chamber ensemble of this size needs keen communication and absolute trust, and these musicians have those qualities in spades. You could hear it right from the outset of Schubert’s B flat trio fragment which unfolded with a still, soft-breathed beauty and infinite care.

There was some of that in the Schoenberg too, the floating moments of lyricism, and even the hint of a Viennese waltz, standing out against the sharp edges and jagged contours of Schoenberg’s writing, though the sheer concentration on all of the players’ faces didn’t suggest that any of them were particularly enjoying the experience.

Not so the Mozart, “incomparably the greatest string trio ever written”, according to Misha Donat’s programme note. The remarkable thing about the writing (and the playing) is that never once did Mozart’s texture sound spare. In fact, in the luscious Adagio the strings sounded rich and luxurious, giving way to a resolution of perfect beauty. The outer movements sounded quasi-symphonic in places, with the set of variations worked with incredible vigour and scale. Put this together with two quirky Minuets, and playing of endless style and panache, and you’d be hard pushed to disagree with Donat’s judgement.

This concert was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and will be available on BBC iPlayer for seven days from the date of the concert.

The Edinburgh International Festival runs until Sunday 2nd September at a range of venues across the city. A selection of performances will be reviewed in these pages. For full details go to www.eif.co.uk

Simon Thompson