Summer Festival of Fine Music – Seraphim Trio

festival of fine music 2023Adelaide Hills Chamber Players. St John’s Church. 22 Jan 2023

Helen Ayres commented from the stage that the great pianist and musicologist Charles Rosen once opined that the downplaying of Clara Schumann as a composer was “perhaps the chief disaster of the nineteenth century’s prejudice against female composers, which has lasted, indeed, until today”. By including Clara Schumann’s Piano Trio in G minor, Op.17 (composed 1845-46) in today’s program as part of the 2023 Adelaide Hills Summer Festival of Music, The Seraphim Trio have said today’s the day! enough! let her be heard! And hear Clara Schumann’s music we did!

Schumann’s Piano Trio in G minor sees the violin (Helen Ayres) first state the principal subject in the opening movement that is the taken up by the piano (Anna Goldsworthy), with the cello (Timothy Nankervis) providing a solid backbone. The scherzo second movement strains against the tempo di menuetto pace but the violin keeps it all in check before giving over to lush and sonorous pastoral motifs in the andante third movement that feature some superb playing by Goldsworthy. The fugal allegretto final movement allows all three instruments to shine, and the writing allows them all to be heard distinctly at the same time. Goldsworthy elicits some stunning bell-like tones, and the audience loves it.

Beethoven’s Piano Trio in E flat major, Op.70, No.2, followed the Schumann, and Goldsworthy remarked that of all of Beethoven’s piano trios (there were thirteen in total), this particular one is not frequently performed in concert. It is therefore pleasing that ensembles of the class of The Seraphim Trio are prepared to breathe life into such compositions. It begins with mellow strains, almost tentative, before the melody becomes truly evident, and again Goldsworthy produces beautiful bell-like tones from the upper register. The Seraphims capture the playful nature of the allegretto second movement which concludes almost with false finishes as the three instruments jockey for the last word. The allegretto third movement has a song like quality, and the attractive interplay between the strings and the piano rescues it from all becoming too predictable. But it’s the last movement where the true interest lies. Goldsworthy’s pianism provides the momentum for the piece and has the audience on the edge of their seats, as the piece settles into a calm place before finishing in a dramatic flurry.


What a joy to hear two infrequently performed trios in the warm ambience of a gracious old building by a truly superb ensemble!

Kym Clayton

When: The Festival concludes 23 January 2023.
Details of other concerts are available at