Benaud Trio: Music by Ross Edwards, Paul Stanhope, Matthew Hindson, Nicholas Buc


Australian chamber music is healthy when you come across a disc with contents such as these new piano trios (all written in the last decade or so). Each composer included here has his own distinctive voice in this genre, and has made significant contributions that should endure in history.

Written for the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition in 1998, Ross Edwards’ Piano Trio has seen many groups explore it. Well captured by the Benaud Trio are Edwards’ characteristics of transparency of tone, sparkling figures, solo lines and references to other works of his, such as the appealing “maninyas” style.

After a mysterious opening, Paul Stanhope’s one movement work Piano Trio “Dolcissimo Uscignolo” (written in 2007) is occupied with agile rhythms and extensive use of the instruments’ ranges. Inspired by a Monteverdi madrigal, this trio exhibits some glorious sonorities.

A frantic Moto Perpetuo in Matthew Hindson’s Piano Trio (2008) is markedly contrasted with the lyrical second movement (Repetitions) with a poignancy heightened by its slow and ethereal ending. Breaking out in a dance style so typical of Hindson’s eclecticism, the third movement, Epic Diva is sure to have a life of its own.

The youngest and newest composer in this collection is Nicholas Buc, whose Trailer Music (a large one movement work) which combines kaleidoscopic ideas, moods and colours, is a veritable mix of styles which keeps the listener engaged by its many twists and turns.

Beautifully recorded, the award winning Benaud Trio (Amir Farid – piano; Lachlan Bramble – violin; Ewen Bramble – cello) has added superbly to the repertoire, exhibiting exquisite playing of some of the finest writing of late. Three of the four works here (Stanhope, Hindson and Buc) are world premiere recordings, making this debut album for the Trio a standout.

(This review first appeared in the February 2013 edition of Fine Music magazine.)

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