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Italian Trio Builds Connection With Jakarta Audience


FEBRUARY 24, 2015

The trio that makes up the Estrio chamber ensemble went through the strains of Italian contemporary classical composer Fabio Vacchi's " Orna Bulo Ciel. "

Featuring Laura Gorna on violin, Cecilia Radic on cello and Laura Manzini on piano, the three explored the basics of their instruments' sound, building up emotion with the composition's slow, moody start. The intensity of the music more than made up for its relative obscurity to the Indonesian audience.

"Our approach to [Vacchi's music] might stick to its notes, yet we balance it by building connections with the audience," said Radic, whose somber cello expressed the composition's mood. "After all, music is a universal language, so it can connect with people wherever they are."

Estrio's take on Vacchi is part of their recent show at the Usmar Ismail Concert Hall in Jakarta. Hosted by the Italian Embassy and the Italian Cultural Institute, the recital is one of many events to mark 65 years of Italian-Indonesian relations.

Best known for an eclecticism influenced by veteran Italian musicians Salvatore Accardo, Rocco Filippini and Bruno Canino, the group aims to change audiences' perceptions of classical music.

"We want to take a more rounded approach to classical music, in line with the different meanings behind the term ' estrio .' These include the German musical Es or E flat, Es or Id in Freudian psychology, and estro , or the passion incurred by fantasy and imagination in classical Greek culture," Radic said.

"In our repertoire, this is reflected in different aspects of classical music. These include Fabio Vacchi's contemporary classical music, the compositions of iconic masters such as Beethoven, and the lesser-known music of 19th century composer Fanny Mendelssohn."

Estrio's take on Beethoven's Piano Trio No. 5 in D major, Opus 70, did the relatively obscure piece, composed in 1808, perfect justice.

The allegro started off the number vigorously, as it featured a skillful interplay between Gorna's violin and Manzini's piano.

The latter's preeminence is reflected in the way its solo tunes wove in and out of the violin solos. Radic's cello provided a good undercurrent and bass for the composition and its interaction between the piano and violin.

Manzini's piano had relatively few flourishes compared to more iconic Beethoven piano compositions such as " Fur Elise " and the " Pathetique " sonata.

But its ardent tones and emotional depth, which are similar to Schubert's compositions such as "Rosamunde" and "Death and the Maiden," struck a chord with the audience.

Estrio's grasp of the composition is also reflected in the second movement, or andante.

Stately and slow at the outset, the trio captured the gravitas as well as Beethoven's moodiness.

Gorna and Manzini explored the work's range of emotions, particularly through the former's flourishes, Radic movingly capturing its undercurrent of emotional tension.

The meditative tone of the andante belies its seemingly experimental structure, reflecting Estrio's intent to explore the essence and basis of sound.

Composed for a three-piece ensemble, the work features an austere, yet full sound. The work also showcases the trio's virtuosity, as their skills are put to the test more than if they were in an orchestra or a chamber music ensemble.

The piano trio's presto closed the piece with a flourish. True to its lively character, Manzini's piano drove the piece along, its sound growing more tangible as it went on.

While the strings were literally playing second fiddle, their verve was still imparted on the work.

From there, Estrio took on Fanny Mendelssohn's Trio Opus 11, of which only the allegro remains. Written by the sister of 19th century composer Felix Mendelssohn, the piece's relative obscurity contrasts with the latter's iconic wedding march from "A Midsummer Night's Dream," which took nothing away from its significance.

"[The Trio Opus 11] reflects the little-known role women play in composing classical music," Radic said.

"This is no less the case with Fanny Mendelssohn. Like many women of her time, society expected her to stay in the home, instead of becoming a professional composer."

Written in the 19th century Romantic style, the work prominently features the piano. Manzini allowed the piece to flow, capturing the way it wears its heart on its sleeve, before Gorna's violin swept in. While the violin continued to meander along, the piano took on a slow and stately form, before all three instruments closed off the piece with a flourish.

To what extent Estrio worked their way into Indonesian hearts remains to be seen. What is certain is that their distinctive take on classical music is bound to leave an impression.