Eva and I had just arrived at Sydkoster, an island barely south of the Norwegian border in the Skagerrak and north of Denmark’s Jutland, when we both espied an advertisement for a music festival which was to have its final presentations on the following day.
Without hesitation we decided to walk the English mile or so from our rented fryggebod to the site of the musical offerings, and laid down SEK250 each for the following day’s presentation at 7PM. I could not resist hearing a rendering, in an intimate setting, of Antonín Dvořák’s “Dumky” Trio Op. 90 in E-minor, and Felix Mendelssohn’s Trio in C-minor, Op. 66, both performed by the Dahlkvist Trio, a group of which I had had no previous knowledge (and about which much more, below). I was familiar with the Dvořák piece, but wasn’t sure about the Mendelssohn—but anything by this composer is good to hear.
It was threatening rain the evening of the outdoor concert at Kosters Trädgårdar, but we had paid our money already and we speculated that if the weather turned too inclement, the concert would move into the adjacent restaurant—and it was so. We garnered seats exactly in front of the Dahlkvist sisters, a mere meter or two from their instruments, violin and cello. The pianist, Henrik Måwe, was situated behind the two women such that we had a clear view of his hands on the keyboard (again, more about him and the others, below).
It was a small but attentive audience, some eating and some, like us, just sitting and waiting for the performers and the stage crew to adjust to the alternate venue. We had a glass of wine while waiting for the concert to begin.
So intimate was the setting, it was natural for me to have a brief, friendly word with the violinist as she adjusted her chair and stand.
Now, about the music…
I realized quickly that my subliminally lowered expectations were influenced by the rustic island setting. I was immediately blown away by these highly skilled professional musicians. Their youth (all seemingly in their mid-20s) was an asset in the vigor required of them for the Dumke Trio, a challenging piece of six movements. It was, from my point of view, perfectly played and passionately executed.
During the break before they played the Mendelssohn piece, I chatted with one of the women (perhaps they will forgive my misremembering which because they are twins) and learned that ordinarily the sisters play together or with their eponymous quartet. This series of concerts was the first occasion playing as a trio with their pianist colleague, Henrik Måwe. I remarked that the three of them seemed completely attuned in their playing.
I wasn’t familiar with the Mendelssohn piece, but in the last two movements I discerned riffs and phrases from other of Mendelssohn’s works, and found interesting the clear sound of a hymn-like passage in the final movement. Again the playing was perfect and thrilling, the other listeners giving loud and long applause to verify my impressions.
The three were prepared for an encore—Cavalleria Rusticana, an opera in one act by Pietro Mascagni, transcribed for a trio. The audience was delightfully surprised by two tenors (whom I thought were solely stage hands) performing an exciting duet/aria for one of the many movements of the piece.
What an unexpected pleasure to greet us upon the first full day of our week-long vacation on the island of Sydkoster in the County of Västra Götaland, Sweden.
I don’t know if these musicians will continue as a trio, but the Dahlkvist Quartet will continue to tour Europe. I’ll be sure to attend their Stockholm concert on 13 April 2013. Here is the quartet’s current schedule.
Now about the musicians…
Hanna Dahlkvist, Cello
Hanna Dahlkvist was born 1986 in Stockholm. She started playing cello as a teenager, studying under Ulrika Edström. In 2004 she began her studies under Torleif Thedéen at Stockholm’s Royal College of Music at Edberg Castle (Edsbergs Musikinstitut/Kungliga Musikhögskolan). In 2009 she completed her formal education by performing an acclaimed diploma concert, together with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, of Witold Lutoslawski’s cello concerto. Hanna currently studies with the French cellist Michel Strauss in Paris where she is working toward a Master of Music at Conservatoire Nationale Supérieure de Musique.
Kersti Dahlkvist, Violin
Kersti Dahlkvist was born 1986 in Stockholm. When just a few years old she started singing, and playing violin and piano. In her teens she studied violin with Sergej Bolkhovets and later with Marika Fältskog at Nordiska Musikgymnasiet. After high school she began graduate studies at Royal College of Music in Stockholm. She graduated the spring 2008 in the class of Henryk Kowalski. Kersti finished master studies the spring 2010 at the chamber music program at Edsberg Castle/Royal College of Music. Her professor was Per Enoksson. Since autumn 2009 Kersti has been is studying with Pavel Vernikov in a post graduate course, at Scuola di Musica di Fiesole, Italy.
Kersti plays on a violin built by Fabio Piagentini 2010 in Lucca, Italy.
Henrik Måwe, Piano
Henrik made his debut recital in Stockholm, in 2008, and in the same year performed as a soloist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Stockholm. Henrik has performed as a soloist in all the Nordic countries, England, Ireland, France, Germany, Poland, Spain and South Africa. He is also seen and heard frequently on Swedish TV, radio and other media.
Since 2008 Henrik has been a chamber music coach at the “Lilla Akademien” in Stockholm. There he also works as the assistant to Staffan Scheja, professor and head of the piano department at the Royal College of Music.