Dressed in their best

Dressed in their best

Concert Review: Triple Forte’s best saved for last

Piano trio Triple Forte's unannounced encore wins North Okanagan Community Concert audience over.

The North Okanagan Community Concert Association invited piano trio Triple Forte to entertain at its gala evening at the Performing Arts Centre Wednesday.

It would open with one of Beethoven’s finest creations, Piano Trio No. 7, universally known as The Archduke, and be followed by one of Shostakovich’s earliest works – a love hymn, written when he was 17 to a young lady who captured his heart for almost a decade.

Ravel’s Piano Trio in A Major, commonly considered a masterpiece, would round off the evening.

But it was the unannounced encore that transported all present to giddy heights and brought them spontaneously to their feet.

When he introduced the piece, champion cellist Yegor Dyachkov said, “You do not always get what you want.  Sometimes you get what you need.  And we’ve decided you need this.”

Audience members who preferred “a good tune” feared the worst, particularly when Dyachkov said the composer was a modern, young Canadian woman born on a NATO base in Italy.

But Kelly-Marie Murphy’s furiously fast-paced Give Me Phoenix Wings to Fly had the spirits of even the most conventional soaring as high as the gut that flew from the bows of Dyachkov and virtuoso violinist Jasper Wood who, along with Governor General gold medallist David Jalbert at the piano, comprise Triple Forte.

These three masterful young musicians have known each other since they began their respective journeys into musical history in various national and international competitions as children. And, while their rapport in the Beethoven did not quite match that of the Gryphon Trio, it was certainly remarkable.

Speaking of the Gryphon Trio, they commissioned Murphy’s Give Me Phoenix Wings to Fly for their Atlantic debut tour in 1997. It was reviewed by Warren Wilson in The Globe and Mail as a “craggy tour de force … an almost uninterrupted study in tension.”

I apologize for quoting another reviewer’s words, but they so echo my own that I’m compelled to continue: “… one wondered whether the phoenix had gone from the fire to the frying pan. It was a pulse-pounding barrage on the senses…”

I so hope that, when Triple Forte is inevitably invited by NOCCA to return to Vernon for a third concert, Murphy’s work (all three movements) graduates to the playlist. Perhaps her current opus, that of a piano trio and string quartet, might make it too.

Meanwhile, Triple Forte interpreted Dmitri Shostakovich’s Trio No. 1 in C Major and Maurice Ravel’s Trio in A Major as one would expect from three accomplished music professors in universities as widely dispersed as Ottawa (Jalbert), Vancouver (Wood) and Montreal (Dyachkov). The latter joked that they rehearse via Skype.

Each of the three musicians displayed a similar degree of wit and good humour as he introduced the piece best suited to his background. And the audience, decked out in diamonds and tuxedos, enjoyed every moment.  But it was that encore that did it for me.

NOCCA adds a fundraising evening with musician/Vancouver Symphony conductor/raconteur Bramwell Tovey to its concert program on Feb. 12.

Tickets are $30 for NOCCA subscriber, $40 for adult non-subscriber, $20 for a student 18 and under, now on sale at the Ticket Seller. Call 250-549-7469, or order online at www.ticketseller.ca.

–– Christine Pilgrim is a local actress and freelance writer who reviews the North Okanagan Community Concert Association series for The Morning Star.