Trio of Trios

Viewing Period: January 22-25/ 2021

Franz Joseph Haydn - Trio IV in E major, Hob XV
Dmitri Shostakovich - Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor
Heather Schmidt - Lunar Reflections for Piano Trio

Piano Trio in E Major, Hob.XV:28

by Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

  • Allegro moderato
  • Allegretto
  • Finale: Allegro

Haydn is considered the father of the string quartet, yet he could just as easily be thought the father of the piano trio; he wrote thirty-nine works for this relatively new genre. The Piano Trio in E major was written during his very successful second visit to London in 1794-95. It was the second of a set of three trios he dedicated to his lifelong friend, the accomplished pianist Therese Jansen Bartolozzi. Like many of his works, this trio radiates grace and good humour -- qualities abundantly evident in Haydn’s own personality. The first movement, Allegro moderato, features a harp-like pizzicato main theme. The second movement, Allegretto, is held together by a steady eighth note bass line overlaid by an ornamented melody. The Finale is playful and charming with a darker minor-mode middle section.

Lunar Reflections for Piano Trio

By Heather Schmidt (b.1976)

  • Blue Moon
  • Wolf Moon
  • Thunder Moon

Multi-award winning artist Heather Schmidt is a Canadian/ American pianist and composer with a wide output of work ranging from orchestral works, concertos and chamber music to music for television, film and video games. Lunar Reflections for Piano Trio is a set of five movements, each depicting a different type of full moon, and movements may be performed individually or in any combination. It was commissioned by the Gryphon Trio and was premiered by them at the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival on July 30, 2008. It is highly evocative music of shifting textures and colourful soundscapes. WCCM offers three: Blue Moon (the rare second full moon of a month, with its accompanying aura of mystery); Wolf Moon (the January full moon, a time when howling wolf packs are prominent); and Thunder Moon (July full moon, thunderstorm season).

Piano Trio No.2 in E Minor, Op. 67

by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)

  • Andante
  • Allegro con brio
  • Largo
  • Allegretto

The Piano Trio No. 2 in E Minor by the great Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich was written in 1944 and premiered in Leningrad on November 14th of that year. It was dedicated to his closest friend, Ivan Sollertinsky who had recently died. He wrote with a desperate grief, not only for the loss of his friend but also against the backdrop of WWII: the Germans were retreating from Russia and the horrific Nazi death camps were being discovered. The first movement, Andante, is cast in stark barrenness and features slow, haunting melodies by the cello, often pitched far higher than the violin; the resulting chilliness is even felt in the folk-like faster sections. The second movement, Allegro con brio, is a frenetic dance, with a menacing, macabre undertone. The piano’s first eight measures of the slow choral introduction of the third movement, Largo, are repeated six times, lending a mournful background for the violin’s and cello’s heart-wrenching melodies. The last movement, Allegretto, is a celebratory Jewish song (Klezmer) grotesquely embedded in the grief of war. This powerful, elegiac and intense trio has gone on to become one of the most important and frequently performed chamber music contributions of the twentieth century.

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