The Duruflé Trio, Ambleside Parish Centre

THE Duruflé Trio presented an interesting and enterprising programme of music for flute, viola and piano, writes CLIVE WALKLEY.

The highly accomplished young players were performing at another of Lake District Summer Music’s Festival Debut Concerts designed to show case young professional musicians at the start of their careers.

Of all recognised chamber ensembles, that of flute, viola and piano is perhaps the combination least supplied with original performing material. Perhaps for this reason, two of the works on the programme were from the 18th century when the usual trio combination was two violins and cello (or viola da gamba) with harpsichord continuo. From this period, we heard trios by CPE Bach and the French composer Jean-Marie Leclair, written specifically for flute, viola and keyboard. All the remaining works on the programme were from the 20th century through to our own time, again all originally written for the instruments represented on the concert platform.

The performances of the 18th century pieces were perhaps less enjoyable than those of the more recent works. This was not because of technical failures on behalf of the players, all of whom have a formidable technique, but on the bright acoustic of the hall which favoured the high frequencies of the flute, making it the dominant voice, at times obscuring the important viola part. However, in a different less reverberant acoustic, the effect could be quite different.

The enterprising nature of this recital is revealed in the composers listed in the programme: Reynaldo Hahn, Claude Debussy, Bohuslav Martinû, Malcolm Arnold, Elena Firsova, and Maurice Duruflé. Their works were given convincing performances, and the sound world of some brought healthy challenges to anyone in the audience unfamiliar with music of our own time. Elena Firsova’s Meditation in the Japanese garden, performed in the presence of the composer, was the most recent of the modern works to be presented and the most advanced in its musical language.

This lovely morning concert came to a satisfying close with Maurice Duruflé’s only chamber work, his highly approachable Prélude, Récitatif et Variations, Op 3.