Review: Sasaki Trio ***

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Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, York

In a classical musical world bursting at the seams with trios and quartets, the young UK-based Sasaki Trio arrived at York having already enjoyed appearances in a number of prestigious venues.

They opened a very demanding programme with a impressive account of Copland’s Vitebsk , a work composed when he was a young man, its heavy dissonance and aggressive aspects totally uncharacteristic of his later output.

Passing through so many very differing mood changes, Shostakovich’s Second Piano Trio is a more musically searching invention, the Sasaki keeping to the letter of the score and never allowing their performance to become over-heated. It was a reading where unanimity and balance between instruments was to be much admired, even in the manic moments of the second movement.

Dividing the trio into a piano and violin duo for Bartok’s Romanian Folk Dances and a piano solo in his Allegro Barbaro worked well as an interlude, Joseph Houston a pianist of outstanding potential.

If to this point the requirements of the three composers had been tangible, Ravel’s Trio is a very different matter for it relies on subtle shifts of colour and rhythm, the Sasaki having an interpretation that still seemed in its preparation stage and needing the shape and flexibility that is felt rather than written.