This is a brave debut from the Lawson Trio, but a wise one. Not just formidable musicians, they are questing spirits who have shown a rare commitment to the creation of new music, so it's right that their first CD boasts no fewer than five premieres of works written for them. These are rich pickings indeed. 
I predict a bright future for David Knotts's scintillating 'The Long Way Home', inspired by torrential summer rain. Its second movement beautifully captures the wistful sense of time passing evoked in Townsend Warner's title poem. At just 12 minutes long, it's a programmer's dream, though it requires all the sensual subtlety and detail these performers bring. 'The Dead Broke Blues Break' by Camden Reeves makes a pungent contrast; they revel in its witty re-enactment of the deconstructed blues on a cracked record which gradually gathers coherence as it reaches the middle of the vinyl. Turnage's 'Fast Stomp' covers similar muscular territory, a terrific moto perpetuo belonging to the same world as his recent dance music. 
The biggest work, Anthony Powers's four-movement Piano Trio (2010), is a finely wrought achievement, the kernel of each movement being a dark-hued English folk song. The piece began life as a movement, 'Ghost', for the Schubert Ensemble's Chamber Music 2000 project, which the Lawson Trio has embraced fruitfully. 
I'm baffled that Cheryl Frances-Hoad's witty 'Five Rackets for Trio Relay' didn't win funding for the Cultural Olympiad project: each piece is cleverly tailored to string players of different abilities. It's fresh and funny. 
Performance - 5 stars   Recording - 4 stars
Helen Wallace
BBC Music Magazine 
(March 2013 - Vol. 21 No. 6)
*****


This fine group are not content to peruse the big back catalogue of works for piano, violin and cello... David Knott's title piece muses on a nostalgic image by Sylvia Townsend Warner. Anthony Powers's Piano Trio exploits English folk song, but conjures up the ghosts of Brahms and Debussy. Cheryl Frances-Hoad's 'Five Rackets for Trio Relay' (a double piano trio involving young musicians) portrays diverse Olympic sports, the "sailing" movement especially illustrational. Best of all is Camden Reeves's 'The Dead Broke Blues Break', evoking and vigorously transforming the blues as imagined on a warped 78 record. 
Paul Driver
The Sunday Times 
*****
 
Filling a debut disc with first performances of contemporary works is a commercial gamble, but members of the Lawson Trio had no qualms about the decision for their album 'The Long Way Home'. 'For your first CD you want something you believe in passionately,' says pianist Annabelle Lawson of the result, issued on ASC's Prima Facie label. Four of the five works were written for the trio but the links are stronger than that. 
'The works have come about as a result of all of our musical journeys,' says cellist Rebecca Knight. 'David Knotts [composer of the album's title work} was my first chamber music coach and a really inspiring figure for me at the Junior Academy, and Cheryl Frances-Hoad was at Cambridge with us and already writing operas.'

Knotts' work was the first commission, in 2010, followed by a piano quartet from Cheryl Frances-Hoad. 'That was such a storming success that we commissioned a double piano trio for the Olympics,' Lawson says. The result was the 'Five Rackets for Trio Relay'... 'It was quite complex and only Cheryl could have done it,' Lawson adds. 

Anthony Powers is another example of composer generosity. The trio had commissioned a short work from him and he attended the premiere. 'He said "What would you think if I wrote a grown-up trio for you?" We said that would be very nice. 'It was post-concert after a couple of glasses of sine and we thought nothing would come of it, ' Humphreys says. 'Then a package arrived on my doorstep a few weeks later and I couldn't believe it was a five-movement trio.'
Classical Music Magazine
3rd November 2012
*****