Three Conversations, my first piano trio, was written to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Canterbury Three Cities Association, a group that links Canterbury, Whitstable, and Herne Bay the two sister cities, Vladmir and Bloomington Normal, founded in 1985 in the interests of improving international relations.
A single movement work, Three Conversations contains three identifiable conversations. The opening, however unconventional, may suggest a ghostly resemblance to the tuning-up of the string instruments, amidst which each player reluctantly participates in the first conversation. In contrast, the second conversation includes violent outbursts and unsettled reactions, alternating with tense moments of frozen stillness. Then the first conversation cautiously resumes, a little differently to before. This persists but not unaffected by the shocking imprint of the second conversation and then, after several attempts to revert to the naïve manner of the first conversation as introduced at the start, changes direction entirely. The third conversation is the most cohesive, and it is also the most lyrical.
The original performers were violinist Andrew Francois, cellist Ivan Hussey, and pianist Sergei Vassiliev, who gave the trio its premiere performance in June 2010 at Wye Church, followed by performances at the Church of St Mary and St Eanswythe, Whitstable Methodist Church and St Peter’s Methodist Church in Canterbury. Later on that year, I was invited to perform the trio myself with Ivan Hussey and Kim Burwell in the Canterbury Festival. Sam Bailey, Kammy Pike and Julia Vohralik performed it again in the Free Range series in 2012 and the Del Mar Piano Trio performed it twice in 2015, the first time in London and the second time in Canterbury.