Amelia Piano Trio delights in Newtown

THE NEWS-TIMES, FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2006

Violinist Anthea Kreston said: Piano Trio in E minor,
Op.90" by Antonin Dvorak (1854 - 1928) was fun to play.


By Jan Stribula
Special to the News-Times

The Newtown Friends of Music opened their 29th season with a delightful
recital last Sunday afternoon at the Edmond Town Hall. The Amelia Piano
Trio performed three pearls written by very popular composers for a nice
earful of chamber music.

The youthful Amelia Trio members have been playing together for about
ten years, and have been gaining quite a bit of attention on National
Public Radio, and on their tours. The trio was asked to be NPR's Young
Ensemble in residence in 2003. They are Anthea Kreston, violin; Jason
Duckles, cello; and Rieko Aizawa, piano.

All members of a piano trio are really playing without a net, as their
individual parts are fully exposed at all times during their performance.
The Amelia Trio takes that as an opportunity to combine an enormous amount
of talent into something greater than the sum of its parts.

The program opened with "Trio in D Major, Opus 70, No.1" by
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), given the nickname the Ghost Trio, due
to the eerie sounding second movement. With a sense of mystery and foreboding,
Aizawa's piano rumblings had a haunted quality to them, with some dramatic
passages up and down the chromatic scales. Kreston and Duckles' string
tonalities complemented each other nicely.

Kreston said "Piano Trio in E minor, Opus 90" by Antonin Dvorak
(1854-1928) was fun to play. The piece was dubbed the Dumky Trio for the
Slavic folk songs it was based on. The tales about warlike Cossacks had
strong contrasts of beauty and passion woith desolation as felt by the
women left behind. Sentiments of bittersweet pathos shifted back and forth
with traditional folk dances. Beautiful elegiac piano tunes would merge
with loely cello airs, and suddenly be led by the violin into a lively
dance. The Amelia Trio maintained good control of the changes in themes,
tempi, and dynamics in a sonorous rendering of Dvorak's tunefulness.

During the intermission I test sat some of the sample chairs being considered
for improvements at the Edmond Town Hall. Whatever chairs they choose
will certainly be an acoustic and ergonomic improvement over their historic
but squeaky seats.

"Piano Trio in D minor, Opus 49" by Felix Mendelssohn (1810-1856)
opened with a moving cello theme that the trio developed beautifully together.
The strings in the tranquil andante movement enriched the lyrical piano
passages. Sure handed string work built up to a rousing finale.

A standing ovation brought the trio back for a special encore, "Lullaby"
by F.X. Frenzel (b.1945), written at the occasion of the birth of Japanese
Princess Aiko in 2001. Ellen Parrella, president of the Newtown Friends
of Music, had requested the Amelia Piano Trio to perform this piece, written
for the instruments played by the Emperor of Japan (cello), the crown
prince (viola), and the crown princess (piano). It gave Kreston a chance
to get her viola out of the closet in a pleasant conclusion for the Newtown
Friends' season opener.