ANiCa Trio honours 10th year of Castle concerts

THERE was a very festive air at the Richmond House Museum and Music Room on Sunday as the acclaimed ANiCa Trio took to the stage to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Classics at the Castle.

GIFTED MUSICIANS: Trio ANiCa, from left viola player Nick Fidler, pianist Asia/Joanna Wicherek and cellist Caleb Vaughn-Jones were congratulated by convenor Sue Gordon after their concert at Richmond House Museum on Sunday. It was the 37th ‘Classics at the Castle’ event and a celebration of 10 years of fine music in this series in Port Alfred

The ANiCa Trio, consisting of pianist Joanna Wicherek aka Asia, Caleb Vaughn-Jones on cello and Nick Fidler on viola, are no strangers to Port Alfred, having all performed on several other occasions, either as soloists or as part of other ensembles during the Classics at the Castle series.

The bold and uncompromising programme for this concert paid tribute to emotive colours and Romantic vigour through melodic works, three by modern composers, and ending with a warm rich trio written by master composer, Johannes Brahms.

Vaughn-Jones created the perfect atmosphere with his soulful playing, with the piece surprisingly rich with Neo-Romantic melody.

The first item, Piano Trio Opus 31, was composed in September 2013 by the young Russian composer, Alexey Kurbatov, and showcased the skills of all three instrumentalists perfectly.  This was followed by a piece for cello and piano, called Aurora, written by another young composer, this time the American, Geoff Knorr. Its haunting melody was evocative of the dawn of early morning, and Knorr took as its inspiration a prophecy mention in the Gospel of Matthew, based on Isaiah 9:2 “…on those living in the land of shadow and death a light has dawned”.

Vaughn-Jones created the perfect atmosphere with his soulful playing, with the piece surprisingly rich with Neo-Romantic melody.

After a short interval it was the turn of Fidler and Wicherek to impress as they performed the ethereal Fratres (Brothers), written by Arvo Pärt. Written along the lines of a theme and variations, the piano brought a medieval hymn-like chant to the fore, while the viola played dancing variations over the theme. Fidler explained that he enjoyed this piece, and it had first grabbed his attention because he could picture two brothers (Cain and Abel) represented by the viola, and the solid dependable parents – the piano – and their conflicts in his head.

The final work on the programme was Brahms’ Trio for piano, viola and cello. Originally written as a trio for clarinet, Brahms himself had transcribed the clarinet part into a viola part. This work is a typical example of the restrained and concentrated style of Brahms’ later works. From the first movement, Allegro, with its simple rising arpeggio and descending scale, the music grows into a complex web of counterpoint that is sustained throughout the work.

The enthusiastic and enthralled capacity audience would not let the musicians depart

A sonorous Adagio follow, based entirely on subtle arrangements of two basic ideas, while a nostalgic Viennese waltz, with its Trio in the style of an Austrian Ländler, makes up the third movement. The short and exciting rondo finale is very reminiscent of Brahms’ much-favoured Gypsy idiom, and ends the work decisively, allowing all three instrumentalist to show off their virtuosity.

The enthusiastic and enthralled capacity audience would not let the musicians depart, and they ended with an absolutely delightful encore – a movement called Autumn from Argentinian composer, Astor Piazzola’s The Four Seasons. Written in the style of the Argentinian Tango, it brought the 10th anniversary concert to a wonderful end.

In thanking everyone for their support over the past 10 years, organiser Sue Gordon said that she hoped to bring many more musicians to Port Alfred to build on the 10 years (and 38 concerts) of the Classics at the Castle series.

Leave a Reply