Poster A pianist, violinist and cellist pose in front of a piano
Although they had never worked before, Benjamin Grosvenor, Nicola Benedetti and Sheku Kanneh-Mason knew each other personally before collaborating on Beethoven's Triple Concerto.
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Benedetti, Grosvenor and Kanneh-Mason join forces for Beethoven's Triple Concerto

New Classical Tracks (extended interview): Benedetti, Grosvenor and Kanneh-Mason
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New Classical Tracks - Benedetti, Grosvenor and Kanneh-Mason
New Classical Tracks - June 12, 2024

Nicola Benedetti, Benjamin Grosvenor and Sheku Kanneh-Mason — Beethoven: Triple Concerto; with the Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Santtu-Matias Rouvali (Decca)

In June 2023, pianist Benjamin Grosvenor, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason and violinist Nicola Benedetti gathered in London for a performance at the Royal Festival Hall. They capitalized on this rare opportunity and made their first recording together with the Philharmonia Orchestra and its principal conductor, Santtu-Matias Rouvali.

This new release features Ludwig van Beethoven’s rarely heard Scottish and Welsh folk songs, with baritone Gerald Finely, and a thrilling performance of the composer’s Triple Concerto.

What was this experience like for each of you?

Grosvenor: “This piece is really a piano trio with orchestra. It has such an element of chamber music to it. And when you play chamber music with other musicians, it can be a great joy, but you really have to click. And knowing each other personally but not having played together, I suppose we had our doubts as to whether that would be the case. And in the first rehearsal that was all immediately relieved. From the beginning, it just worked really wonderfully well.”

Benedetti: “It's a really challenging piece of music that requires a high level of awareness from everyone and only really starts to become fun and spontaneous when you have that from everyone involved. I learned so much from playing with both of these musicians, you know, and sometimes it was spoken and sometimes it was just in listening to their playing and kind of feeling out what it was that they wanted to do.”

What is a section of this concerto that you love or are excited about whenever you play it?

Benedetti: “I would have to choose the coda because it's so fast-paced, and you've actually already had a lot of material in that last movement. There's been a lot going along, a lot of different types of textures and rhythms and interactions between the instruments. So you're not necessarily waiting for something more to happen. And then when it does, it's so inventive and so fun and unexpected.”

Grosvenor: “It's the whole of the slow movement. It's hard to pick an exact spot because on one hand, you have to take his wonderful solo at the beginning that [Benedetti] plays with such exquisite tenderness. And then after a little piano interlude, you have this amazing duet between the two of them that plays with such sensitivity and that's the movement where my role is mostly to just battle triplets in the background. But it's a real joy to listen to.”

Kanneh-Mason: “I love the second subject of the first movement, and particularly, any theme that is accompanied by triplets. It gives you such a feeling of floating on, [of] something a bit more liquid.”

Resources

Nicola Benedetti, violin/Benjamin Grosvenor, piano/Sheku Kanneh-Mason, cello – Beethoven: Triple Concerto; with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Santtu-Matias Rouvali (Decca)

Nicola Benedetti, violin/Benjamin Grosvenor, piano/Sheku Kanneh-Mason, cello – Beethoven: Triple Concerto; with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Santtu-Matias Rouvali (Amazon)

Benjamin Grosvenor, piano (official site)

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