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Excellent Barra Trio Concert

Cowal Music Club’s concert on 26 May  proved to be a wonderful evening’s music-making, when  The Barra Trio,  Katrina Lee (violin), Liam Brolly (viola), and Elias Rooney (cello),  performed an excellent programme of remarkable and varied works by composers ranging from Schubert to Kodaly. This was the first time for a long while that a Music Club concert had taken place in St John’s Church hall, which proved itself to be an excellent venue, with a fine acoustic and warm ambience; and there was a near capacity audience.

Yorkshire-born violinist Katrina Lee, who leads the trio, is already known to Cowal audiences for her outstanding concert with the Escocia Duo (with her guitarist husband Roberto Versluys) in December 2023.  And once again she enthralled the audience with her superb playing, as did her trio team, all of whom appeared to be enjoying themselves! Their tone quality, ensemble, and attention to detail were exemplary.  Right from the start, in Schubert’s Trio in Bb, the trio played beautifully and powerfully, when appropriate, with excellent communication and ensemble playing.

A highly attractive four-movement Trio by Hummel, a pupil of Mozart’s and contemporary of Beethoven, followed, which, near its conclusion, quoted some ‘Papageno’ music from Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute. This work delighted everyone, not least with its healthy quota of humour, and some dance-like sections.


The first half of the concert concluded with ‘Aubade’, a delightful, playful work by the Romanian-born composer Georges Enescu. One memorable feature in this piece was the appearance of the Romanian National Anthem, played in octaves by the viola, accompanied by elaborate figuration in the violin and cello parts.

Part 2 of the concert started with an arrangement of a Bach Prelude and Fugue from The Well Tempered Klavier, followed by a charming and colourful Intermezzo by the 20th century Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodaly.

The final work on the evening’s programme was Ernst von Dohnanyi’s  Serenade,  a substantial work in five movements, and a  real icon of the String Trio repertoire. The Barra Trio’s performance of this work was quite outstanding, with excellent ensemble playing as well as beautiful solos from all three players.  Interestingly its opening Marcia movement is recalled at the end, giving the work a cyclic feel, and there are highly effective movements including a Romanza, with a beautiful viola solo,  and Variations, as well as an exciting and virtuosic  Scherzo.

The concert was enthusiastically received by the large audience, whose applause was loud , warm, and prolonged. No wonder!

Cowal Music Club’s next concert is scheduled for July 21st, at 7.30pm, when guitarist Ian Watt will perform.


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