Creating New Music
Available to watch here are films of the premiere from Kings Place, a behind the scenes workshop with Brian Elias and short trailers.
At the heart of the Elias commission project is the creation of new music, bringing fresh ideas to a traditional medium, the piano trio, as well as engaging audiences digitally. With the aim of making new music accessible to a wider audience the Trio have created a digital legacy, revealing fascinating insights into the composer’s creative world.
This is an energetic and entertaining work with a wide emotional range, which brought fine playing from the Rautio Trio.
Premiere at Kings Place
The Rautio Trio premiered Brian Elias’ new piano trio at Kings Place in London on 30th May 2021, just as the UK’s cultural scene was re-emerging from the lock-down of the Covid pandemic. The concert was given to an in-house audience and streamed live online, followed by two subsequent performances at Kino Teat in Hastings, and Hay Music in Hereford. Alongside each performance was a special pre-concert event screening the biographical film about Elias ‘A Passage from India’ by Barrie Gavin.
Brian Elias and the Rautio Trio gratefully acknowledge support from the RWV Trust and PRS Foundation’s The Open Fund for Music Creators.
The Rautios captured to the music’s febrile, mercurial shifts of mood in a reading of great humanity and warmth, as well as technical refinement.
The Rautio Piano Trio certainly gave this world premiere as if they had lived some time with this music and its possibilities.
Seen and Heard International (full review)
Written in five relatively short, interconnected movements (Allegro-Lento-Presto-Adagio-Presto), Brian Elias’s Piano Trio makes for an impressive addition to the repertoire. If the composer seemed very much at home in the medium, the players seemed equally at home in his idiom. The Rautio Piano Trio certainly gave this world premiere as if they had lived some time with this music and its possibilities. An arresting opening, angular and lyrical, for all three instruments, seemed even on a first hearing to set up ideas and possibilities for the rest of the work. Not that that material is simply repeated; rarely did it seem to appear in quite the same guise. Rather, it is varied, transformed, and above all developed: in melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic terms. Here we heard a composer comfortable with roots in tradition, without in any sense being hidebound by it or otherwise backward-looking. Both work and performance imparted a strong sense of every note counting, of being made to count; for this sounded as a case of material being shaped, even mastered, as sculpture in sound. As Webern once put it, ‘To develop everything … from one principal idea! That is the strongest unity … But in what form? That is where art comes in!’ Freedom, as we must seemingly constantly remind ourselves and others, is not licence. Perhaps this is to indulge in undue anachronism, but it seemed to me there was indeed something of a Second Viennese School rigour and/of expression beneath the surface. The central Presto movement bears some resemblance to a Classical scherzo and trio, without necessarily ‘being’ such a movement; yet it also springs from and leads to the two slow movements that flank it. It is, moreover, in that ongoing transformation of musical figures that both some degree of formal symmetrical balance and thoroughgoing development occur — and are felt to occur.
Seen and Heard International, Mark Berry
Musical Opinion (full review)
The opening Allegro section acts as a call to attention and a statement of intent, and its bold, well-defined gestures have sufficient potential to fuel the rest of the work. The following Lento is hushed and lyrical, with shimmering cello tremolandos, light, floating violin textures and florid, fluent piano lines. Vigorous triplet rhythms drive the elegant central Presto scherzo. Each fo the three instruments has an eloquent solo passage in the song-like Adagio section, which fins the composer at his most directly communicative. The closing Presto coda looks back on the principal ideas before the music tapers away in a wry, open-ended close.
Brian Elias’s Piano Trio presents a taut, closely argued narrative that has sufficient flexibility to embrace a wide variety of expression, from poised declamation to shadowy introspection. The Rautios captured to the music’s febrile, mercurial shifts of mood in a reading of great humanity and warmth, as well as technical refinement. Unsurprisingly, the composer seemed well pleased with this detailed and poetic account, giving each of the players a virtual hug before acknowledging the audience’s hearty, well-deserved applause.
This recital by the Rautio Piano Trio was immensely satisfying in terms of programming and musicianship. The players proved their mastery of a challenging new work, presented as though already an essential part of the repertoire, while their fresh and spirited approach to a time-honoured classic [Schubert E flat Trio] made it seem newly minted.
Musical Opinion, Paul Conway
The Strad (full review)
The Strad, Tim Homfray