• Steve Ambler

The Andrew Sords Trio


(Left to right) Andrew Sords, Cheryl Duvall, and Luke Severn

The Hudson Chamber Music Series’ 35th season continues with its second concert November 19 at 4 p.m. in the St. James Church Hall, 642 Main Road in Hudson. The Andrew Sords Trio will perform an all-Brahms recital which will include his two best-known piano trios.

The Trio is an example of the kind of international collaboration that is possible in the age of the internet with musicians based in the United States, Canada and Australia. Violinist Andrew Sords is an acclaimed and award-winning soloist from Cleveland. He has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician on four continents and has received numerous awards and distinctions including the Pittsburgh Concert Society’s Career Grant, the National Shirley Valentin Award, and the National Federation of Music Clubs Young Artist Award.

Pianist Cheryl Duvall is based in Toronto and is a soloist, chamber musician, teacher and adjudicator who has toured extensively on three continents. She is an experienced choral accompanist, and is the pianist for the Toronto based Bell Arte Singers and the internationally renowned Oakville Children’s Choir, with which she has recorded albums of Canadian choral repertoire and seasonal music.

Cellist Luke Severn is the Australian member of the group and is known as much for his compositions as his performances as a cellist. A protégé of Russian cellist Karine Georgian, he has been praised for his unique musicality and expressive interpretations. Born in the UK, Luke moved to Australia at a young age and began cello at the age of 12. He now performs regularly in Europe and Australia.

The main part of Sunday’s programme features Brahms’ second and third piano trios. Both are staples of the chamber music repertoire. He completed his second (in C major) in 1882 when he was nearly 50. It is a mature work (coming after the piano quartets, the piano quintet, the string sextets and all three string quartets), and marks a ‘third phase’ in Viennese chamber music (the first is associated with Haydn and the second with Beethoven). The third (in C minor) dates from 1886. It is actually much more compact than the second with a typical performance taking around 21 minutes.

Professor Basil Smallman summarized the contribution of the trios: “With the C major and C minor trios Brahms brought the genre, in its classical-romantic forms, to a splendid culmination in the late 19th century. Many successors and imitators sought to achieve a comparable excellence in their works, but none showed the same capacity for combining profuse melodic invention with a seemingly effortless mastery of technique.” The programme also includes the scherzo from Brahms’ 1853 sonata for violin and piano.

Autumnal Brahms in a perfect autumnal setting: fans of Brahms and fans of full-throated romanticism are in for a real treat.

St. James Church Hall is an ideal setting for chamber music with its ideal acoustics and an unparalleled view of the Lake of Two Mountains. Individual tickets will be available at a cost of $25 for adults and $20 for seniors. Season tickets will also be on sale at $70 for adults and $55 for seniors, still a bargain since there are three remaining concerts in the season including Sunday’s.

For more information, including more detailed bios of the musicians and a link to Andrew Sords’ web site, and details on the rest of the 35th season, see the Hudson Chamber Music Series web site at http://www.hudsonchambermusic.ca/.

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