NZTrio celebrates the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand with an all-female-composer concert.

Rachel Clement, Clara Schumann, Elena Kats-Chernin, Victoria Kelly, Fanny Mendelssohn

Rachel Clement, Clara Schumann, Elena Kats-Chernin, Victoria Kelly, Fanny Mendelssohn Photo: supplied, public domain

The trio has given the three concerts in its 2018 series titles related to fibre-work. The other two are called ‘Weave’ and ‘Twine’ and this one has the title ‘Braid’. It seems like the trio is inviting us to imagine many threads of varying colour and texture being brought together into a unified and strong whole.

But this particular concert also nods at the celebration this year of the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand. None of the pieces reference women’s suffrage in a direct way, but they are all by women: we have two New Zealanders, Rachel Clement and Victoria Kelly; one Australian, Elena Kats-Chernin; and two of the at-the-time underappreciated composers of the 19th Century, Clara Schumann and Fanny Mendelssohn.

In the last couple of years, NZTrio has been undergoing a period of – shall we say ­– fluidity in its personnel. Both Justine Cormack and Sarah Watkins have left and the remaining member Ashley Brown has been performing with a roster of guest musicians.

In this concert – ironically perhaps given the feminine theme – he’s joined by violinist Benjamin Baker and pianist Stephen De Pledge, marking the first time that the trio has been all-male in its make-up.

Rachel Clement: Sabbia, from Shifting States
Clara Schumann: Piano Trio in G minor Op 17
Elena Kats-Chenrnin: Spirit and the Maiden
Victoria Kelly: Sono
Fanny Mendelssohn: Piano Trio in D minor Op 11

Recorded by RNZ Concert in Q Loft Theatre, 25 September 2018
Producer: Tim Dodd; Engineer: Rangi Powick