Ensemble Avalon is a piano trio, featuring three of the most exciting young musicians in Ireland – Michael McHale (piano) who has impressed Waterford audiences this year; Ioana Petcu-Colan (violin), a previous founder/member of Callino Quartet and Gerald Peregrine (cello) who wowed Waterford audiences recently at Christ Church Cathedral with his evocative playing.
Ensemble Avalon opened the second concert of the Summer Chamber Classics at the National Concert Hall with a Parisian theme. But if you were expecting anything of the life and music of this remarkable city, this concert was nothing like that. While I did not expect a more popular or populist programme, this was dullsville and mostly a waste of a balmy summer night. It was only the expertise of the performers who held this sleepathon together.
Avalon’s choice of a Faure piece, written in later life, was a sort of grey and graceful sequence. Serenity became dreamy somnolence and the closing Allegro Vivo started well and faded like a bland blamange.
This was a poor showcase for a trio who have a debut cd of Bax Bernstein and Beethoven piano trios now available.
Even the usually exciting Calino String Quartet playing of a Debussy in G Minor was sticky in places and a repeating pizzacato motif didn’t help as a central passage sounded like an insert from another sequence and the music ran out of ideas at least twice.
After the interval, a Mozart piano and violin Sonata had just a passing connection with Paris and Hugh Tinney (piano) and Ioana Petcu-Colan (violin) didn’t gel for me, but inside I was disengaging gears and the Chausson Concerto in D major for piano, violin and strong quartet did not revive me.
It seemed Baroque without passion and dancy without sweat and a slow movement, Grave, sounded like it read and walking back around St. Stephen’s Green the cool twilight air was reviving and I knew that I had not had an experience of Paris.