Caption: Unified playing. The Backman Trio consists of Ruth Beedham - cello, Marcus Andrews - piano and Frida Backman - violin.
The Backman Trio Impress
The Backman Trio - who are based in London, are currently on a mini concert tour including Helsinki and Turku. Tonight the trio are performing at the Music Centre.
The Backman Trio
Bergman, Debussy, Sibelius
At Sandels School of Culture 2/4/12
In 2003 violinist Frida Backman left Finland for England with the intention to stay for 9 months as an exchange student at Trinity College of Music, London. This became an exile period of nine years that still continues. For three years she has played in a piano trio bearing her name together with cellist Ruth Beedham and pianist Marcus Andrews whom she met at Trinity College of Music. Since the foundation of the group the trio have made small tours in the Swedish speaking regions of Finland.
It is a really welcome initiative to bring music into schools. This is relatively rare here in our country whereas it is common practice in the UK, for really competent musicians to perform music in schools. The lunch time recital, which took place in Backman’s old school by Tölö market square, showed how well the music hits home with a younger audience.
The tour repertoire consists of youthful works by prolific composers. It seems like a successful attempt to balance music that is easy to listen to and yet interesting enough for the experts; it is not every day one hears Erik Bergman’s Trio opus 2 - which is not even included on the official list of his works, or the piano trio in G major by Debussy, written by an eighteen year old.
The Bergman trio was performed at the centenary concert in Uusikaarlepyy last summer and has a thoroughly French feel to it, like Ravel, Satie or Poulenc, but still emphasising show and blues tunes more than above mentioned composers. The work is rhythmical and fast flowing and offers fast runs for all parts and is generally very strong in its expression, something that is familiar from Bergman’s later works.
The piano trio by Debussy was written in 1880 when Debussy was working in Russia for the patron Nadezja von Meck, but it was first performed only one hundred years later. Mostly it sounds like salon music, with some seasoning. Most interesting I find the opening of the second movement with pizzicati in the strings and a chromatically rising line. The voluptuous ending is also most attractive.
The dancelike Andantino (JS 43) and the silly Allegro (JS 27) by Sibelius are well placed on the programme.
Intonation and sound quality are not always one hundred percent with The Backman Trio, but their ensemble playing is very fluid and their phrasing is of first class, particularly in the meaty melodic lines. Their playing is full of joy and they are making music with ease.
The Backman Trio are tonight performing at the Camerata Hall, in Helsinki Music Centre at 7pm and tomorrow they are performing at the Sibelius Museum in Turku
“Bringing the House Down at West Lakes Academy”
Review by Keith Bradshaw in Egremont 2Day, 1st May 2012
When the Backman Piano Trio finished their concert with a fine performance of Shostakovitch’s Piano Trio No 2, it was followed by enthusiastic applause, so much so that they played an encore. This, an attractive ‘allegro’ by Sibelius, was the last ever piece to be performed for SASRA Music & Arts in the Theatre of the former Wyndham School. Three very talented musicians: Frida Backman (violin), Ruth Beedham (cello) and pianist Marcus Andrews formed the Trio in 2009 and have been performing across the UK and Finland and will be recording some previously un-recorded British and Finnish works.
The well balanced programme covered two hundred years of musical ‘development’, from 18th century Haydn to 20th century Shostakovitch. It included a rarely performed chamber work by Sibelius and the very English-sounding ‘Phantasie’ Trio by John Ireland (the 50th anniversary of whose death falls this year).
So, a much-appreciated concert, but in a way, tinged with sadness, with an era coming to an end. What of the old theatre, as the applause for The Backman Trio and that for the 300 or so classical performances since 1965, fades? Well, they’ll be bringing the house down once more, in the summer, but this time it’ll be the demolition men, not the musicians.
Next season begins on 12 October, when The City of London Sinfonia will play music by Mozart, Piazolla and Tchaikovsky. The soloists will be the well known Guitar Duo: The Katona Twins. The concert will be in Egremont Market Hall.
Review by David Killick
Impressive Concert Season Ends on a High Note
What a fine way to end the Season of classical concerts at the West Lakes Academy! The Backman Trio recently brought the SASRA Music and Arts series to a close with fine performances of rarely-heard works. Even the present reviewer, passionate about Haydn string quartets, had never come across his Trio which began the programme. It was played with great delicacy and charm – a most convincing account. There followed a Sibelius work which included a wide variety of moods, all subtly conveyed by these distinguished artistes.
The remaining works in the Backman Trio’s programme can only be described as revelations. Why is the Trio by Ireland not heard more often? It is a delight from beginning to end, and brought great pleasure to the large audience. As for the Shostakovich, the performers showed they could play not only with finesse but with power too, and this was a dazzling way to end the concert. Although it proved not to be quite the end after all, because the Trio managed to find enough energy to entertain with a brief encore which sent the audience home with smiles on their faces.
The SASRA Music and Arts Committee are to be congratulated on organising such a splendid series of concerts – the last to be held in the Academy’s theatre, since we learn that the 2012-13 Season will be taking place at Egremont’s Market Hall. In the meantime, West Cumbria continues to enjoy first-class performances of chamber music at a number of other venues. There was, for example, a fine programme of string quartets given recently at the Nether Wasdale Church by the Stonebridge Quartet - an annual event which seems to become more and more impressive every year.
Thank you for a splendid concert last night. It was a great programme, varied and very interesting, and took us from the 18th Century to the 21st. You all have such a rich tone, impeccable intonation, and great passion for the music. Marcus, you managed to get really lovely sounds out of our old piano, and you are a perfect accompanist when required. Ruth, your beautiful singing tone enchanted us all, and Frida, your inspiring playing and tremendous energy delighted all of us.
Thank you for your performance yesterday. Many of our members are knowledgeable musicians, but I think we all discovered something new last night. The feedback I received after the recital was very positive and one member even phoned me at home today and left a message to say how much he had enjoyed the evening.