Beethoven: Music in Revolution/RWCMD Cardiff
"Rigour and fire in revolutionary Beethoven. The composer's early works brought out the best in the Gould Trio in this absorbing five-day Beethoven festival . . . a perfect balance of structural exactitude and lyricism . . . the authenticity of the febrile and rich sound they created, together with the intensity of emotion, made this most memorable."
(The Guardian, 15/02/2016)
RAVEL - Penarth Chamber Music Festival
"Ravel’s Piano Trio stood out in a ravishing performance by the Goulds"
(The Guardian, JULY 2015)
CD REVIEW: Beamish • MacMillan • Maxwell Davies
"after their splendid Mendelssohn recording, the Gould Trio return . . . the Trio don't hold back . . . yet are able to illuminate the score's subtler, delicate moments . . .the Gould Trio impress by their commitment, expertise and idiomatic understanding."
(Gramophone, JUNE 2015)
CD REVIEW: BEETHOVEN PIANO TRIOS VOL. 4
Recorded live in the fine acoustic of St. George’s Bristol, the complete piano trios series from Somm Records continues to set a benchmark for chamber music. Volume 4 more than lives up to what has gone before, with that perfect blend of analytical precision and generosity of rich, melodic tone that are the hallmarks of the Gould Piano Trio (Lucy Gould, violin, Alice Neary, cello, and the pianist, Benjamin Frith). They delight us on CD with three Beethoven masterpieces, the Trio in E flat major, Op.1, No. 1; the trio in E flat major (which has the designation, Hess 48), and the well-known "Archduke Trio” – the four-movement Op. 97, B flat major work, which Beethoven dedicated to Archduke Rudolph (1788-1831), a keen music student who benefited from the tutelage of the composer.
All successful chamber groups and ensembles have that indefinable "second sight” – the ability to play and listen as one, and to anticipate the next move, gesture or inflexion, but the Gould Trio achieves a rare oneness of expression and sound in their elegant transitions through Beethoven’s many compelling themes, variations and fertile, flourishing ideas. For a composition for three players, the Op. 97 is surprisingly "large”, dynamic and wide-ranging: the listener can immediately tell that Beethoven is a symphonic composer, able to fill his imaginative landscape-in-sound with many commanding peaks, and gentle valley floors. The two outer movements, marked Allegro, have great vitality, as does the second scherzo section. The 12-minute-long Andante cantabile shows us the depths of Beethoven, and in the hands of the Gould Trio, I doubt if any listener could wish for a better interpretation.
(The Quarterly Review, MAY 2015)
. . . this new recording of the Archduke compares very favourably with the best in the field including that made by the Beaux Arts Trio. The Gould perform this classic of the genre with affection, conviction and polish. Their opening Allegro moderato is truly imposing, its nobility tempered by lyrical beauty. Their Scherzo, second movement, is liltingly joyous, and stormy and argumentative too. The Andante is heartfelt from its opening hymn-like supplications to the varying moods of the variations from a light-hearted flightiness to a more lyrical sentimentality. As for their finale, it is a pure elated headlong indulgence.
SMETANA, SUK & TCHAIKOVSKY - Royal Northern College of Music
No single listener could possibly attend every concert in this marathon so it seems unfair to mention only a few. But I shall remember the thrilling performances by the GPT of Smetana’s elegiac and powerful G minor trio, a work I did not know and which seems to me to be a masterpiece, and of Tchaikovsky’s A minor tribute to Nicholas Rubinstein, a memorial of great length that holds the attention from start to finish.
SHOSTAKOVICH AND ARENSKY - City of London Festival
Such is the concentration of festival venues in the Square Mile that one can stroll to the next concert without breaking into a sweat, as was my intention on Tuesday. So devastating was the Gould Piano Trio's performance of Shostakovich's Trio No 2 at St Lawrence Jewry, however, that I changed my plans.
Written in 1944, the Trio was inspired by Nazi atrocities at Treblinka. Shostakovich, who had been evacuated from Leningrad, was haunted by reports of Jews being forced to dance at gun-point on mass graves. Hence the brutal passacaglia for piano (Benjamin Frith), hence the shell-shocked wail of harmonics, hence the traumatised dreydlekh, hence the world-upside-down insanity of a sher for cello (Alice Neary) and violin (Lucy Gould), stripped of all joy and hope and humour. Master musicians in Arensky's opulent Trio in D minor - their octaves impeccably tuned, their articulation graceful, their phrasing intelligent, their sound delicious - the Gould Piano Trio here proved themselves to be master dramatists. Gould and Neary's blanched, then bloody tones, and Frith's near-orchestral control of dynamics made this an uncommonly powerful and disturbing experience.
...Shostakovich's trio was revelatory. Starting and ending quietly, those of us who have known it for the six decades of its concert life will never forget the eeriness of the beginning, with stratospheric cello harmonics above the violin which joins with the piano to make a trio sound of arresting originality...The Goulds traversed the full range of emotion in this trio.
WORKS BY MACMILLAN - CCA, Glascow
...the outstanding piano playing of Benjamin Frith unearthed a darker, more sardonic side to the music than is commonly revealed. Frith, a fascinating pianist, gets right under the sking of the music, exposing a core that makes for uncomfortable listening.
(The Glascow Herald)
CD REVIEW: FUCHS PIANO TRIOS, QUARTZ RECORDS
Lucy Gould, Alice Neary and Benjamin Frith are delightful partners, clearly having a ball; their enthusiasm is infectious.
(Gramophone, February 2006 EDITOR'S CHOICE)
...the string playing has richness and fine intonation and the balance with piano is good. An enjoyable discovery. 4/5 for sound; 5/5 for performance
CD REVIEW: BRAHMS PIANO TRIOS, VOLUME ONE, QUARTZ RECORDS
The Gould Piano Trio have won plaudits for recordings of Mendelssohn and Beethoven. Here, they are just as persuasive in two contrasting trios by Brahms: the youthful, lyrically expansive B major - drastically revised by the composer in his fifties - and the glorious C major, no less luxuriant in its themes, but far tauter in their development.
Compared with some other groups, the Gould may initially seem to favour Classical restraint over heroic, full-blooded Romanticism. But it soon emerges that their refinement and emphasis on light, lucid textures by no means preclude an authentic Brahmsian intensity.
The Gould are especially good at seeing a movement whole; and if an apparent climax seems underplayed, it will always be because they are eyeing the real climax later in the piece. They have a subtle feeling, too, for the expressive crux of Brahms's long, arching phrases. Both the darting, crepuscular scherzos gain from the Gould's unusual delicacy of touch, while their rarefied playing of the B major's adagio is as moving as any of their emotionally charged rivals.
...the performance by the Gould Trio is so good, strong, passionate and at the same time delicate... They are equally fine in the glorious B major.
BRAHMS AND SCHUMANN FESTIVAL - Royal Northern College of Music
The Gould Piano Trio revealed the beauty and orthodox mastery of Clara’s Piano Trio in G minor, after which Robert’s Fantasiestücke, Op 88, sounded all the more eccentric, rhythmically obsessive, fascinating, moving. Brahms’s early piano trio in B came over as the mighty utterance of a young composer whom both Schumanns regarded as a fully formed, indeed god-like, genius.
Benjamin Frith’s rippling piano and the finely toned strings of Lucy Gould and Alice Neary reveal why the Goulds are a top-line ensemble. Gould’s violin can soar like a lark, with a sweetness of tone that is honey to the ear; Neary’s spruce, articulated cello lines bring the bounce and propulsion of a jazz group…. scrumptiously performed.
(New Zealand Herald)
Just gorgeous: Benjamin Frith’s marvellously fluent piano, with the innocence of a music box at times, an ingénue tone from violin, while the sound of Alice Neary’s cello seemed to float up from the floor, disembodied, without beginning or end.
(Wellington Evening Post)
ENGLISH MUSIC FESTIVAL - Stratford-upon-Avon
Their ensemble is clear, bright and fresh, the ensemble playing quite faultless.
The concert was a delight from start to finish. The Beethoven Trio in E flat (Op 1 No 1) was excellent: crystal clear, beautifully articulated. The Andante really was as cantabile as marked; the scherzo fizzed along; and throughout, the rapport between all three players was complete. They seemed not merely to be thinking, but also playing as one. Benjamin Frith's piano was limpid, and violin and cello were, tonally, matched to perfection.
(Music and Vision)
CD REVIEW: MENDELSSOHN PIANO TRIOS NOS. 1 AND 2, NAXOS
The Gould Trio gives fine, incisive, carefully moulded, beautifully coloured and paced performances.
(The Sunday Times)
The young players of the Gould Trio give performances as fine as any on disc … [and] prove to be inspired recording artists, offering passagework of sparkling evenness and clarity.
Gould Piano Trio makes a spirited début in L.A. This is a strong group… spirited and direct. Their sound was big and bright, their balances assured…
(Los Angeles Times)
Pure Gould: with clear textures and balanced ensemble, a recital in New York this April offered trio playing at its best.