Crowdfunding is a new word for a very old practice in the classical music business, as two piano trios getting their Wigmore premieres on the same day have demonstrated. The money for Kaija Saariaho’s trio Light and Matter came from many sources, of which the Britten Sinfonia, whose players performed it, was only one. Others contributions came from the Wigmore Hall, Aeolian Chamber Players, the Library of Congress, a Swedish ensemble, a Swiss foundation, and 10 private donors.
Meanwhile, James Macmillan’s Piano Trio No 2 was commissioned by its players the Gould Piano Trio, plus Bath International Music Festival, Glasgow Music, and the East Neuk Festival. This is how new works emerge – by going round the houses cap in hand.
Macmillan took us on a dizzy ride through what felt like a jam session, but was in fact very cleverly constructed. Moments of string lugubriousness were punctured by shafts of pianistic lunacy; a stately waltz was repeatedly undermined by a little fanfare. Very much on their mettle, the Gould Trio wound up with a fine account of Beethoven’s Archduke. And as a product supported by a whip-round from Beethoven’s admirers, that masterpiece was crowdfunded too.