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Mozart piano music at St Martin in the Fields

Rautio Piano Trio and members of the New London Soloists Orchestra
Piano Trio in C, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Piano Concerto no 13, Oboe Quartet in F and Piano Quartet in G minor
26th January 2006

This Mozart concert, one of the "by candlelight series" and part of the celebrations for the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth, contained an action-packed programme of chamber music by some of the young rising stars in the music arena. The Rautio Trio Jan Rautio on the piano, Jane Gordon on the violin and Katherine Jenkinson on the 'cello were all highly talented and engaging instrumentalists. The musicians from the NLSO were also interesting and lively players. Their clothing and manner all suggested youth and enjoyment.

When it came to the music, the playing was beautiful rather than faultless. The Piano Trio in C was playful and light-hearted, and the rapport especially between the two girls was pleasant to behold. Following on from that, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik was performed with a mixture of passion and fun, including great dynamics and mellow tones that allowed all parts to shine in their own way.

The Piano Concerto no 13 was one of the crowning moments of the concert. Its beginning was almost like a fanfare, and the piano playing throughout was commanding and impressive. Jan Rautio is a pianist unafraid of using silence to add passion and further interest to music. His own cadenzas during the finale of this piece were a fitting end to the concerto. Similarly, there was an excellent interaction between the strings, although the cellist was sometimes a little too overpowering for the small group.

During the second half of the concert, we were treated, during the Oboe Quartet in F, to an oboist with great ability and a rather dodgy sense of humour! Although he struggled a little with one section his performance overall was one of quiet dignity intermingled with underlying passion. And to finish came the beautiful Piano Quartet in G minor, with its sombre beginning, effective harmonisation and real depth of feeling.

However, this concert was a rather strange experience for me. The performances were not perfect but highly enjoyable, and left one with a sense that Mozart's music contains many layers of feeling and meaning. Nonetheless, the atmosphere and overall tone of the evening jarred slightly. The musicians at times demonstrated a little immaturity, and there were a number of background noises rather distracting to the audience. The concert didn't really display the level of sophistication one expects when listening to Mozart.

Having said that, I spent a very pleasant evening, listening to charming music played by talented musicians, particularly the Rautio Trio. It may have been unconventional, but it was fun.

KT