Perhaps more than any other ensemble formation, Australian music history is blessed by a succession of piano trios, usually faculty at our teaching institutions. Faculty composers have dutifully provided some repertoire but in recent years, since the proliferation of chamber music competitions, younger composers have responded eagerly to the challenge of creating new works for this sometimes fatigued outfit.
There’s life in the old girl yet, as these three young players from Melbourne, winners of the 2005 Australian Chamber Music Competition, demonstrate brilliantly. Lachlan Bramble (violin), Ewen Bramble (cello) and Amir Farid (piano) toss off these world premiere recordings of works by Edwards, Stanhope, Hindson and Buc with panache and abandon. While there’s a tendency towards the elegiac in some deal of the music, there are still a lot of spunky rhythms to keep the lads in trim. Particularly so in the drive of Matthew Hindson’s 2007 trio and its hilarious final movement, Epic Diva. In Nicholas Buc’s Trailer Music, they pour lashings of sugar-coated toppings to the 30-year-old composer’s mash-up of almost every cliché of corny cinema music in the book. While Paul Stanhope’s refined revisitation of a Monteverdi madrigal gropes in the direction of Benjamin Britten, Ross Edwards’ music leaps and bounds in the gardens of Norman Lindsay like a frisky puppy.
Melba’s recording quality, with a lot of bass grunt, is immaculately clean, the signature touch of this company. It’s great to see Melba engaging so whole-heartedly with Australian music and young performers. With its stylish design and comprehensive notes in three languages, someone has an eye to the international market. This CD, its music and, most of all, its dynamic young performers, would make a terrific export product.