Saturday, February 7, 2004
Jeffrey Solow, cello
Marian Hahn, piano
Timothy Baker, violin
Amadeus Trio is based in New York and has made numerous appearances on National
Public Radio’s “Performance Today.” A
winner of the 1976 Leventritt Competition, Hahn performed in Columbus in 1993
and 1995 as pianist for the Amabile Piano Quartet, in addition to her 1998
appearance with the Amadeus Trio. She
is currently on the piano and chamber music faculty of the Peabody Conservatory
of Music. Baker has won top prizes
in the International Bach Solo and the Seventh International Tchaikovsky violin
competitions and performs on the famed “Guitar” Stradivarius violin made in
1726. Solow, who visited Columbus
in 1993 as one of the American Chamber Players, was the first winner of the
Gregor Piatagorsky Award of the Young Musicians Foundation and is currently
Professor of Cello at Temple University.
Amadeus Trio appears through arrangement with the Darlington Management Group,
28 Park Avenue, Old Greenwich, Connecticut 06870.
Trio no. 1 in D minor, op. 32 (composed 1894)
Scherzo: Allegro molto
Finale: Allegro non troppo
in Novgorod, Russia, Anton Stepanovich Arensky received his first music lessons
from his mother, an accomplished pianist. Arensky
had several piano pieces and songs to his credit by the time he was nine.
Entering the Saint Petersburg Conservatory in 1879, he studied
composition with Rimsky-Korsakov and graduated with a gold medal in 1882.
Thereafter, he began his own teaching career at the Moscow Conservatory,
counting among his students Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, and Glière.
Moscow, Arensky came under the direct influence of Tchaikovsky, but he also
absorbed musical ideas from across much of Europe. In addition to his composing, Arensky conducted extensively,
in particular directing concerts of the Russian Choral Society from 1888 to
1895. That year, he returned to
Saint Petersburg, succeeding Balakirev as director of the imperial chapel, where
he remained until 1901. During the
final few years of his short life, Arensky composed and toured successfully as
both conductor and pianist, at home and abroad.
He died of tuberculosis while in Finland in February 1906.
Arensky’s most popular and respected compositions, the Trio no. 1 in D minor, op. 32 was dedicated to the memory of the
great Russian cellist Karl Davïdov, who was director of the Saint Petersburg
Conservatory while Arensky was a student. The
Allegro moderato features three themes
and a gentle coda. The Scherzo
is swift, piano virtuosity competing with string pizzicati and multiple stops. The Davïdov tribute is most prominent in the Elegia, which opens with a mournful cello line.
The Finale brings back both the
Elegia theme and the first theme of
the opening movement in a powerful rondo.
Ott (born 1947)
The Painter's Eye (composed 2003)
Damnation. Allegro con fuoco
II. The Crucifixion. Adagio doloroso
III. Merode Altarpiece. Andante
IV. Da Vinci:
Mona Lisa. Andante cantabile
VI. Flight to Egypt. Andante misterioso; Moderato con forza
in Michigan and reared in Janesville, Wisconsin, David Ott earned his
bachelor’s in music from the University of Wisconsin, Platteville; his
master’s in piano performance from Indiana University, and a doctorate in
theory and composition from the University of Kentucky.
He is the recipient of the 1986 Fisher Fellowship, the 1995 Lancaster
Symphony Composer of the Year Award, and the 2003 Music Alive Award.
He has been a composer-in-residence with the Indianapolis Symphony
Orchestra, music director of the Norwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, and was
recently named the Pace Eminent Scholar.
for the Amadeus Trio by the Singletary Center for the Arts at the University of
Kentucky, “The Painter’s Eye” is a six-movement piano trio inspired by
half a dozen Renaissance art works. Composer
David Ott has supplied the following notes on his new work.
a composer uses painting as a source for artistic expression, the composer sets
in motion a frozen moment. In music, the details of composition, i.e.,
pitches, rhythms, harmonies, colors, are stretched across time, given moment by
moment. From these come a sense of structure and a feeling for what the
piece is about. The composer relies on the listener to hear events,
remember them, and reconstruct them to arrive at a sense of form. Just the
opposite is true of painting. Here the subject of the work is immediately
obvious. In a sweeping moment, the observer has a feel for the intentions
of the painter. In that light, the details, i.e., brush strokes,
background elements, minute details, become noticeable over time and through
studious attention. As the eye moves across the canvas noting the tiniest of
elements, these are understood as a complement to the general impression of the
each of these six Renaissance paintings, I have set into motion the essence of
each work which can be described in a word or two.
The Garden of Delights, by Hieronymus Bosch dating from about
1500, is a cluttered work. Its
imagery strikes us as irrational and weird, where disparate events are
juxtaposed. The real focus of its
middle panel lies in the garden of carnal delights.
Bosch depicts scores of human figures taking pleasure in momentary
delights of the flesh but which make prisoners of these carnal appetites.
I have used rhythm as the primary focus here to replicate the delights.
Of all the musical elements, it is the power of rhythm that appeals most
directly to Dionysian senses. The
pulse is driving, intense, which is reinforced by dissonant harmonies. Melodic elements are fashioned from a mixture of diatonic and
Van Eyck stands as one of the most gifted painters in history. Working with the patience of Job in the new field of oil
painting, he created masterworks of realistic display of photographic precision.
He could also persuade with powerful images, of which his The
Crucifixion offers proof positive. Pain,
both physical and spiritual, are the immediate responses to this traumatic
moment in history. To render this
in music, the violin and cello offer pungent harmonies to dramatize the pain.
In each use, these acrid chords are interspersed between minor and major
harmonies and serve as focal points within each measure.
A mysterious sustained solo piano line is introduced heightening the
sense of drama. The string texture
is then imposed upon the piano line to close the movement.
center panel of the Mérode Altarpiece, painted by the Master of Flémalle
around 1425, depicts the moment of St. Gabriel’s Annunciation to the juvenile
Mary. Seated on the floor of a
contemporary room to demonstrate her humility, she reads of the promise of the
Messiah. Everything about the panel
is a mixture of reality and mystery, of the contemporary and the ancient, of God
and of man. Musically, I have
represented this with the juxtapositioning of musically contrasting elements.
Bitonal harmonic events, cross rhythms, contrapuntal textures dominate
the opening portion. A lullaby
melody, suggested by the promised event of the birth, is given to the violin.
Suddenly, a sense of urgency and amazement, suggested by the snuffed out candle
prominently placed at the center, invades the lullaby’s rapturous mood, but
returns to restore and complete of picture of wonderment.
a number of descriptive words would appropriately describe Leonardo da Vinci’s
Mona Lisa, I have selected beauty. The
flow of her hands, the lush and simple loveliness of her face, with her flowing
garbs, all suggest fluidity of detail and of form. The details of the background, represented by the exquisite
use of sfumato techniques where tones shade imperceptibly with other tones, are
overwhelmed by the prominence of the foreground element of Mona Lisa herself.
The musical focus is on long and sustained lyricism.
Each instrument of the trio is given ample opportunity to explore
beautiful renderings. Sfumato
techniques are suggested in the music by the shadings of harmonies, based on
shifts of chromaticism, that underpin the melodies.
The Birth of Venus, painted about 1480, is a study of grace, balance, and charm.
A certain reservation and coolness are readily apparent throughout the work.
A rhythmic flow of hair and garb is counterbalanced by the staid nature of the
forest and the lack of a feeling of depth. I have used a light texture to
represent these elements in the music. Violin and cello work as a team
with a piano accompaniment that does not invade on the strings. In the
middle portion the texture changes as the piano and strings alternate quickly
and in constant succession, but the sense of lightness and clarity is always
oldest of the six paintings was created by Melchior Broederlam around 1400. I
have selected half of a work that is actually two representations side by side.
One half describes the presentation of the Christ child in the temple,
while the focus of my work is the Flight into Egypt.
To our modern eyes the painting seems out of scale or perspective, but it
represents the best of Broederlam’s age.
The painting also suggests motion as the eye sweeps from lower center to
upper right. I begin the
composition by representing Joseph’s dream of the impending order to kill all
baby boys by King Herod. The music
is as mysterious and disconcerting as a restless dream with constant glissandi,
bowing techniques near the bridge, and thin-strung harmonies.
Then a four-voice fugue, aptly defined as flight, is the source of
inspiration for the main body of the closing movement.
Columbus performance of “The Painter’s Eye” is the work’s second,
following just days after the world premiere in January 2004 in Lexington,
Trio no. 2 in C minor, op. 66 (composed 1845)
Allegro energico e con fuoco
Scherzo: Molto allegro quasi
Finale: Allegro appassionato
friend Robert Schumann called Felix Mendelssohn "the Mozart of the 19th
century," not least because of the astounding number of works he produced
in his short lifetime: volumes of
works for piano and for organ; five symphonies; monumental choral pieces;
overtures and incidental music; songs and partsongs; and no fewer than two dozen
chamber works. Throughout Europe,
Mendelssohn was in demand as an organist, pianist, conductor, and composer,
spending his last decade as conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig. There he championed neglected works of the previous century,
premiered his own compositions and those of his contemporaries, and tried to
raise the standards of both orchestral performance and public taste.
an innovator, Mendelssohn strove to reconcile the classical heritage of the 18th
century with the romantic tenor of his own.
Though only two piano trios by Mendelssohn have come down to us, we know
that he wrote one (which has since been lost) before he was eleven years old.
Various letters also suggest that the genre interested him much more than
his two contributions to it would indicate.
During a visit to Paris when he was 23, he wrote to sister Fanny of plans
to write another. But it wasn't until 1839 that he actually wrote his Trio
no. 1 in D minor, op. 49. It
was another six years before Mendelssohn dedicated his Trio
no. 2 in C minor, op. 66 to Louis Spohr (1784-1859), one of the great
violinists of his time and a prolific composer in his own right.
late 1844, Mendelssohn had been feeling unsettled about working conditions in
Berlin. In December, he decided to retire to Frankfort for rest and
recovery. By February 1845, he had
begun work on the Trio no. 2,
completing it in the early summer. The
work's premiere performance later that year at the Gewandhaus featured Spohr on
violin and Mendelssohn on piano. This
period of renewal also saw the production of six organ sonatas, incidental music
to Sophocles's Oedipus at Colonos, and
a new set of Songs Without Words.
point in the cello and drama in the piano open the Allegro
energico e con fuoco, moving on to string arpeggios and vehement piano
chords. The lyrical E-flat major
second theme eases the tension. After
an impassioned development and a recap, the canonic coda pits an augmented
version of the opening against the original.
Two themes, one tender, the other thoughtful, dominate the Andante espressivo (9/8), the midsection of which modulates to the
tonic minor key.
pause, the Scherzo:
Molto allegro launches into its toccata-like chase.
The Quasi presto trio
contributes a Gypsy grace to the proceedings with its Scotch snaps and waverings
between major and minor. The brief
recap combines the themes from both scherzo and trio.
Mingling secular and sacred, the Finale:
Allegro appassionato combines a startling ninth in the upbeat of the
first theme with the chorale Vor deinem
Thron, originally published in the 1551 Geneva
Psalter. That first theme
sounds a lot like the gigue from Bach's English
Suite in G minor. A similar
tune would later surface in the scherzo from Brahms' Sonata, op. 5 and in symphonic movements of both Mahler (Symphony
no. 2) and Bruckner (Symphony no. 3),
proving that good ideas have a life of their own.
notes by Jay Weitz, Consulting Database Specialist for music, OCLC Online
Computer Library Center, Dublin, Ohio. He
is a contributing performing arts critic for the weekly alternative newspaper
“Alive: Music, Art, and Culture
in Columbus” (http://www.columbusalive.com).
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