MUSIC REVIEW - Sisters and strings in perfect harmony

Arisa, Megumi and Honoka Fujita make up the Fujita Piano Trio.

Arisa, Megumi and Honoka Fujita make up the Fujita Piano Trio.

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Fujita Piano Trio, South Holland Concerts, South Holland Centre, Spalding

It was midway through the Fujita sisters’ playing of Johannes Brahms’ Piano Trio number 2 in C major op. 87 when this reviewer realised they weren’t using music sheets.

It’s doubtful thought whether this was the reason behind the organisers of South Holland Concerts inviting the Japanese trio back after a two-year absence to open its 31st season.

The more likely explanation could be found in the programme given to members of the audience fortunate enough to be inside South Holland Centre’s main auditorium on Saturday evening.

For in his programme notes, South Holland Concerts chairman David Jones praised the Fujita sisters for “their undoubted musicianship and artistry”, as well as promising “another wonderful evening of music-making”.

Violinist Arisa, cellist Honoka and pianist Megumi Fujita turned piano compositions by Mozart, Brahms and Beethoven into an exercise of synergy, symmetry and solidarity perhaps unmatched by anything seen or heard at South Holland Centre this year.

But that should be no surprise when you consider the sisters’ joint pedigree - Arisa having studied at London’s Guildhall School of Music under acclaimed Japanese violinist David Takeno, regarded as one of the leading teachers of the instrument in this country.

Meanwhile, Honoka studied under Israeli cellist Uzi Wiesel before enrolling at Guildhall School of Music under Jennifer Ward Claarke and Raphael Wallfisch who has worked with composers such as Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and the late John Tavener.

Megumi, the odd one out of the sisters having been born in New Zealand, joined the Yehudi Menuhin School, Surrey, in 1979 before going on to study with Ukrainian pianist Irina Zaritskaya at the Rubin Academy of Music, Israel.

The Fujita sisters’ concert began with Mozart’s Piano Trio in C major (K.548), before Brahms’ work and the spectacular climax of Beethoven’s Piano Trio in B flat major, otherwise known as the Archduke trio.

An audience of young and old at South Holland Centre experienced a night of musical craftmanship at his best and afterwards Arisa said: “Every performance is unique, with different audiences, but we were so welcomed and relaxed here in Spalding.

“It was so nice to come back again to a very beautiful theatre where the people are so friendly.”

Megumi added: “Every time we perform a piece, it becomes our favourite because we discover a new thing which we talk about with each other.

“The good thing about live music is that we practice our parts until they become something we sing along to, even though each piece is different.”

On the evidence of Saturday’s concert, the Fujita sisters can expect an invitation to return to Spalding very soon.

Winston Brown