Festival Vancouver
Alcon Schubert Plus Series
Trout Quintet

Dates: 13 August 2003 at 11.00
: First Baptist Church

Reviewer: Elizabeth Paterson






Jennifer Lim piano; Andrew Dawes, violin
David Harding viola; Kaori Yamagami, cello; Michelle Herrera, bass

Schubert Song Circle: Robyn Driedger-Klassen, soprano; Karen Lee-Mortang, piano.

Today's plunge in this Schubert immersion fortnight brought up the Trout Quintet. This is a piece you can't go wrong with. It has charm, freshness and sparkle for the everyday concert-goer, complex harmonic structure, unusual instrumentation and inventive variation for the connaisseur. Add in an ensemble of excellent players and you have the perfect morning offering.

David Harding's viola was especially magnetic, drawing the ear to the melodic line with a full-bodied sound. Kaori Yamagami, cello, was richly expressive. Jennifer Lim on piano held everything together, despite near-disaster with an under-rehearsed page-turner, playing with delicacy and an airy - or rather perhaps watery - lightness of touch. All the players listened to each other and appeared to take delight in the music, something which over and above good professional playing always adds to the listener's pleasure.





As is customary in this series, a shorter Schubert piece was presented before the main work. Today, Jennifer Lim played Piano Sonata in A minor, D. 784. This is a sombre and dramatic piece, to which she brought great intensity. In my view though, too much pedal made a number of passages rather murky.

The Schubert Circle opening lieder had a watery, even a fishy, theme. Robyn Driedger-Klassen is a familiar figure on the local opera stage. She gave each song its own identity, now calm, now dramatic, now reflective, now with humour. Her singing at once grips the listener with its beautiful timbre and sense of engagement with the music.

This programme will be broadcast by CBC Radio 2 on Take Five (September 30th), Westcoast Performance (November 16) and on In Performance; and by Radio Canada, La Chaine Culturelle on Les Lieux qui chantent.  Check the CBC/Radio Canada listings for dates and times.

2003, Elizabeth Paterson