April 2016
Bournemouth Daily Echo Review
Leonore Piano Trio, Dorset County Museum Music Society, Dorchester

Although only formed in 2012, the Leonore Piano Trio have been playing together, as members of Ensemble 360, for more than ten years. Cellist Gemma Rosefield, violinist Benjamin Nabarro, and pianist Tim Horton, are critically acclaimed musicians, and when performing together, as in last Wednesday’s DCMMS concert, give performances of the highest calibre.

Their concert began with Beethoven’s Variations in G, opus 121a, “Kakadu.” This seldom played work starts with a very serious introduction in C minor; Beethoven’s favourite key. Having set a very ominous tone, the variations suddenly become light-hearted and humorous. Each member of the trio got the chance to show their merit, both individually, and together, and they achieved this magnificently.

Next we heard Dvorak’s Trio in E minor, known as “Dumky.” Composed in 1891, it is made up of six sections, which feature both slow and fast music. In this we heard some very sonorous playing, full of Slavic passion, and energy, and it does help that the cellist and violinist possess rather fine instruments! One of the joys of attending chamber music concerts, is that you can see how musicians communicate, or not, with each other. On this score, the Leonore Trio obviously enjoyed each other’s company very much.

The last piece in their concert was Schubert’s Piano Trio No. 2 in E flat. This magnificent piece is a cornerstone in every piano trio’s repertoire. It is a lengthy and demanding work, and only reveals its true majesty when every nuance in the score is strictly observed. The trio played it with great flare, technical brilliance, and sensitivity.
Tim Horton’s intricate passage-work was a joy to hear, as was the warm and supple playing of the strings.

May 2014
Music in the Round review – beguiling Brahms and ferocious Prokofiev

The twin themes of the 2014 Music in the Round festival are love and war. For the opening concert of the series, Brahms supplied the romance while Prokofiev and the young British composer Charlie Piper provided the conflict.

Piper's The Dark Hour is an ambitious, well-realised half-hour suite for seven solo instrumentalists and a narrator, based on the journal of private JW Greystone, who served in northern France in 1916. Piper's setting adroitly captured the journal's mixture of absurdity and horror: the "evening hate" of the enemy bombardment ignited a noisy explosion on the viola; and tense pizzicato phrases suggested the anxiety of a sortie to repair the wire in no man's land, then morphed into a surreal exchange as Greystone described how a German patrol that was engaged in the same activity asked if they might borrow a hammer.

Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No 7, completed in 1942, was the second in the War Sonata trilogy, in which the composer – obliged to provide an ode in honour of Stalin's 60th birthday – produced a sequence of aggressively dissonant works that seemed more accurately to reflect what he thought of him.
Here Tim Horton gave a truly ferocious performance: the insistent, single-note bass of the final movement suggested the despair of a Soviet composer slamming his head against a brick wall.

March 2014  
The Leonore Piano Trio review
Monday 17th March

The Leonore Piano Trio: Tim Horton, piano; Benjamin Nabarro, violin and Gemma Rosefield, cello gave three sensational performances of highly contrasting masterpieces for piano trio at this the sixth and final concert of the 2013/14 season promoted by Aberdeen Chamber Music Concerts. Pianist Tim Horton has been a guest of ACMC with different ensembles on two previous occasions and his scintillating playing was the principal focus of the first piece in the programme, Haydn’s Piano Trio in C Major Hob XV no.27.

The first movement opened with a blistering upwards salvo on the piano, possibly one of the most astonishing openings of any piece. Tim Horton’s playing throughout the work had irresistible fluency and expressiveness. Violin and cello followed the piano in a series of passages that contrasted amazing delicacy and lightness with sizzling incisive intensity. The return of the opening statement featured at least one rather startling change of key at least that’s what it did in this performance. Haydn was surely out to surprise us – something he always loved to do and the Leonore Trio got it just right.

The second movement gave the violin a special moment in the spotlight but the piano soon dominated once again with stormy playing before the ensemble as a whole stamped their quality on the music.

The zesty finale had something of the teasing liveliness of a scherzo about it to begin with but as the movement continued in rondo sonata joviality, Tim Horton’s gutsy playing made an unstoppable torrent of notes pour forth from the Cowdray Hall piano – absolutely amazing!
The Leonore Trio have just released a CD of the Piano Trios of Anton Arensky and the next item in the concert was Arensky’s Trio No. 1 in d minor. Here was an opportunity for Benjamin Navarro and Gemma Rosefield to seize the spotlight. In the first movement they came in one after the other before duetting lusciously together.

The third movement Poco adagio was sad but intensely beautiful with fine playing from both cello and violin eventually duetting delightfully together. The piano theme had a sadness to it that seemed almost to be weeping at times.

Even the rhythmic intensity of the finale did not entirely shake off the sense of sadness running through this music but Dvořák was surely going to recover his spirits and of course many happier works were to follow such as the “American” String Quartet and the “New World” Symphony.