« For the second concert of the 2019 season, we welcomed the outstanding Trio Sõra. The trio derives its name from the native American word Sõra, a bird singing while spreading its wings. A most appropriate name, it must be said, for whilst singing and spreading its wings, a bird must fly and soar to the greatest heights, and that is exactly what we were treated to on Friday. Freshly arrived from Aix-en-Provence, they began with Haydn’s Gypsy trio. In the first movement of this, Clémence de Forceville’s fabulous violin playing enchanted us in the fourth variation. The finale of this piece calls for much spirited playing from all and we were not disappointed, the whole movement being played very briskly and airily.

Ravel’s trio is in a completely contrasting genre, requiring very different techniques. It is a masterful work and Trio Sõra did it every justice. Here we must commend the pianistic virtuosity of Pauline Chenais in this hugely difficult piano part, which she carried off flawlessly and with great gusto. The piece ends in a brilliant coda, taxing the virtuosic skills of the players to the utmost and, once again, we were left breathless at the end.

Beethoven’s Archduke trio is a classic of the repertoire and Trio Sõra showed us that they had the measure of this masterpiece. Of particular note was the introduction to the scherzo second movement, on Angèle Legasa’s cello, the waltz-like theme being combined with the fugal structure, requiring great coordination between the players, something at which they are particularly adept: the occasional glance towards the others, the slight inclination of the head, the almost instinctive, and exactly appropriate, changes in tempo.

This is a highly accomplished, gifted ensemble and it is no surprise that they have received so many accolades, in particular, the Parkhouse Award (2017) and the Special Prize of the Verbier Festival Academy (2018). These players really give a fantastic performance and we are sure that they have a terrific future ahead of them.

Our justifiably enthusiastic applause at the end was rewarded with an encore: Give Me Phoenix Wings to Fly by the contemporary Canadian composer, Kelly-Marie Murphy. This demanding, angular composition was given first-class treatment by the trio. The whole evening was a truly special occasion, a performance in every sense of the word. » Shaldon Festival – Chris Morris