Aspiring to artistic perfection, Trio Wanderer from France will visit Taiwan again as part of its 25th anniversary celebrations to present a concert titled “Born for Music — 25th Anniversary of Trio Wanderer” at the National Concert Hall in Taipei tomorrow evening. While staying true to the composers’ wishes, the three classically trained “wanderers” will fill the concert hall with their own musical language, telling the story of their explorations into chamber music, the pursuit of technical perfection, and their near-telepathic musical rapport over the past 25 years. The trio will play a program of piano trios by composers from the Classical, Romantic, and Modern periods, including Ludwig van Beethoven’s (1770-1827) Piano Trio in B-flat major, Op. 97, aka the “Archduke” Trio, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s (1840-1893) Piano Trio in A minor, Op. 50 and Dmitri Shostakovich’s (1906-1975) Piano Trio No.1 in C minor, Op. 8.
Founded in 1987, Trio Wanderer is composed of pianist Vincent Coq, violinist Jean-Marc Phillips-Varjabedian, and cellist Raphael Pidoux, all of whom graduated from the National Music Conservatory of Paris. Inspired by Franz Schubert’s (1797-1828) art song Der Wanderer, D. 493 as well as German Romanticism, the three musicians have embarked on a musical journey seeking further enlightenment from a wide repertoire spanning almost all schools and periods. In a spirit of openness and curiosity and with its sensitive style, the trio has performed on the most prestigious of stages on all five continents. They have been praised by the French daily Le Monde for being “the best to be had today when it comes to trios.” Under the guidance of great masters such as Jean-Claude Pennetier, Jean Hubeau, and Menahem Pressler of the Beaux Arts Trio and the Amadeus Quartet, Trio Wanderer won the ARD International Music Competition in Munich in 1988 and the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition in the US in 1990. In 2009, Trio Wanderer was voted “Best Instrumental Ensemble of the Year” at the Victoires de la Musique for the third time.
Trio Wanderer said that although their ensemble took their name from a Schubert composition, they have a preference for Beethoven because his trios are the cornerstone of their repertory and it was he who finally found the perfect balance between the three instruments. The ensemble first performed all of Beethoven’s trios in 1990, but it was not until this year that they released an album of Beethoven’s complete piano trios. “These are works that can be explored infinitely, and it took us nearly 25 years to decide to record them,” said Trio Wanderer. In the concert tomorrow, the Wanderers will play Beethoven’s “Archduke” Trio, one of Beethoven’s favorites, which he often played in concert himself. The Daily Telegraph’s classical music critic Geoffrey Norris said in a review of Trio Wanderer’s latest CD of complete Beethoven piano trios that the ensemble interprets the “Archduke” Trio “with a radiant glow, a rapt serenity in the slow movement and sense of fun in the finale.”
Speaking of Tchaikovsky, the first thing that comes to people’s mind is his natural affinity for beautiful melodies. Tchaikovsky’s only piano trio Piano Trio in A minor, Op.50 titled “In memory of a great artist” — his friend and pianist Nicholas Rubinstein — represents his finest effort in the trio genre, and it also signifies the 25-year-long friendship between the three Wanderer musicians, said the concert organizers.