Concert given by
The David Owen Norris Piano Trio
Friday 23rd September 2022 in St Peter’s Church, Stockbridge
The Stockbridge Music faithful eagerly awaited the approaching climax concert of the season: the appearance of our distinguished patron, Professor David Owen Norris. This concert could stand comparison with any top concert hall in the world.
The Professor never disappoints whether as composer, broadcaster or concert pianist. This year he was supported by Caroline Balding , the acclaimed international violinist, and Sarah McMahon, principal cellist with the Academy of Ancient Music and professor of historical cello at the Royal Academy of Music. Together this all-star gave us two back to back piano trios: Beethoven’s Archduke ( Op. 97) and one of Schubert’s two piano trios written in the last year of his short life, 1828. It made for an interesting comparison with the Beethoven trio, the Schubert with its 4 movements having its more lyrical approach than characteristically forthright Beethoven.
Professor Owen Norris performed both trios on a modern replica of an 1802 Schantz pianoforte, which to modern ears made an interesting sound midway between a harpsichord and a slightly unsophisticated piano. The 1802 instrument provides an interesting milestone in the development of the pianoforte during the eighteenth century as it came gradually to take the place of keyboard instruments where the strings are plucked ( as in the harpsichord), not struck with hammers as in the pianoforte. We learnt that for that reason the piano allows the performer greater power of expression depending on the force with which he strikes the note on the keyboard. Musical interpretation on the harpsichord is influenced little by the degree of force with which the key is struck.
In its tenth year Stockbridge Music has made great strides under the leadership of Tim Lowden and is very much here to stay.