This was the first time that we felt able to invite a piano trio in our typical Breinton soirée style (that is, with all the performers and guests crowded indoors), so our anticipation was high. But no one was to know what an incredibly profound drama was about to unfold as we welcomed So-Ock Kim (violin), Petr Limonov (piano) and Josephine Knight (cello).
Schubert’s Piano Trio in E flat, described by Petr Limonov as "the most beautiful music ever written", was an enthralling experience. I felt we were led into a magical tunnel of thickly layered sound colours and rich harmonies that surrounded and touched us and resonated with our heart and soul. It was as if vivid film scenes were passing by in front of our eyes, each movement depicting different moods. It was an absolute pleasure to see the musicians in action; nowadays you get amazing recordings everywhere to enjoy at your own leisure, but there certainly was something unreplaceable and spontaneous about witnessing how all the sounds danced and bounced out of their instruments, and how those complicated harmonies and melodies were woven together.
Following the Schubert was Smetana’s only Piano Trio – another epic work. It was composed in the memory of Smetana’s first child who sadly passed away at a young age. The unaccompanied violin on its bottom string was impactful, firmly announcing a tragic feeling. However, it did not remain only tragic – Smetana incorporated so many expressions and emotions – it was powerful, sorrowful, agitated, but went through some most delightfully gentle and joyful moments, all expressed superbly by So-Ock’s glorious tones, Josephine’s seamless phrasing and Petr’s masterful pianism. Their impeccable control of tempo and volume was amazing.
So-Ock, Josephine and Petr gave us a priceless evening. What a privilege to be able to enjoy the masterworks up so close, where no sound escapes and we could even hear a needle drop.