Tryon Concert Association Presents
The Montrose Trio
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Trio No. 1 in C minor, Op. 8, “Poeme” Dmitri Shostakovich
Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 1, No. 1 Ludwig van Beethoven
Scherzo: Allegro assai
Trio No. 1 in B Major, Op. 8 Johannes Brahms
(1889 revision) (1833-1897)
Allegro con brio
Scherzo: Allegro molto
The Melrose Trio appears by arrangement with
Opus 3 Artists, 470 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016
A FOOTNOTE ON APPLAUSE: The spirit and beauty of the music will be enhanced for both the performer and the audience by saving your applause until the completion of the last movement of each composition.
Note on the Artists
Members of the Montrose Trio, pianist Jon Kimura Parker, violinist Martin Beaver, and cellist Clive Greensmith, performed together on numerous occasions before they united as the Montrose Trio in 2014. The violinist and cellist were both members of the Tokyo String Quartet, which disbanded in 2013. Mr. Parker had performed with the quartet on many occasions and was a guest artist on the Tokyo String Quartet’s final concert. He along with the two string players then came up with the idea of forming the trio. They have since performed widely across the states and abroad to great acclaim. The Washington Post says of their playing: “absolutely top-notch music–making, as fine as one could ever expect to hear … they are poised to become one of the top piano trios in the world.”
Jon Kimura Parker hails from Canada and was educated at the Vancouver Academy of Music and The University of British Columbia. The winner of numerous international competitions, he has performed across the globe. He has played for the US Supreme Court, Queen Elizabeth II, and prime ministers of Canada and Japan. Mr. Parker is currently Professor of Piano at the Shepherd School of Music, Rice University in Houston, Texas.
Martin Beaver, also from Canada, studied with numerous esteemed professors at the Royal Conservancy of Music. He joined the Tokyo String Quartet as first violinist in 2002. Winner of several international competitions, he has taught at universities in Canada and the United States. Mr. Beaver is now on the faculty at the Colburn School as co-director of the String Chamber Music Studies Program and professor of violin.
British-born cellist Clive Greensmith is a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music and the Musikhochschule in Cologne. He served as principal cellist of London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and has appeared as soloist with the London Symphony Orchestra and other noted ensembles and soloists in England and Europe. Along with Martin Beaver, Mr. Greensmith performed with the Tokyo String Quartet for fifteen years. He has a long distinguished teaching career and is presently co-director of the String Chamber Music Studies and professor of cello at the Colburn School in Los Angeles.
Notes on the Program
Trio in C minor, Op. 8
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)
As a young boy Dmitri Shostakovich showed his prodigious talent, studying piano with his mother. Growing up at the beginning of the Stalin regime was not an easy existence. Dmitri suffered from malnutrition and later from tuberculosis. For this he was sent to a sanatorium in the Crimea in 1923. During his convalescence, he fell in love with a young girl, Tanya Glivenko, who would become his fiancée. Their relationship lasted for many years, but did not result in marriage.
Inspired by his love for Tanya, 16-year-old Shostakovich wrote and dedicated his Piano Trio in C minor to her. Originally entitled “Poeme,” this single-movement work is sometimes called a “student work,” but the trio shows the promise of this gifted young composer and foretells his later maturity. Young Shostakovich performed the Trio on several occasions but then it lay in obscurity until 1983 when it was published with the help of one of Shostakovich’s students.
Piano Trio in C minor, Op. 8 is a romantic, rhythmic, single-movement work, filled with lyrical melodies and sudden contrasts of tempo and energy. Two themes are heard as they interact and change, sometimes plaintive and yearning and later, intense and soaring. It ends with a rapturous coda – a happy ending. This complex work from a 16-year-old reminds us of a Mozart or Mendelssohn.
Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 1, No. 1
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Beethoven’s first published work, Opus 1, was printed in 1795 when the composer was in his mid-twenties. He had previously composed nearly twenty chamber music works but felt they weren’t worthy of publication. Feeling that the three piano trios in Opus 1 reflected his growing maturity he judged them to be worthy of print.
Beethoven started work on the trios while he lived in his hometown of Bonn, Germany. In 1792, he moved to Vienna to study with Franz Joseph Haydn. Haydn, often called the father of the string quartet, had also composed many string trios and was quite impressed with his young student. Here Beethoven finished the works and submitted them for publication.
In the writing of these three piano trios Beethoven expanded the piano trio beyond its three-movement form by adding an additional movement, the Scherzo. He also elevated the role of the violin and cello from merely supportive voices to significant players.
Warm and witty, Op. 1, No. 1 in E-flat Major bears the influence of both Haydn and Mozart. The opening Allegro brings two themes, which go through development and conclude with a virtuosic coda. The gentle and song-like Adagio cantabile is a rondo with a theme, transformed and interspersed by contrasting interludes. The newly added Scherzo represents a robust peasant dance with strong downbeats, while the Finale: Presto brings this happy work to a brilliant conclusion.
Beethoven performed the premiere of the three trios along with violinist Ignaz Schuppanzig and cellist Anton Kraft at the home of Prince Karl Lichnowsky, a patron of the composer, and to whom the work is dedicated. Opus 1 was enthusiastically received by the public and brought considerable financial help to the composer.
Trio No. 1 in B Major, Op. 8 (1889 version)
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
As a young man of twenty Brahms left his native Hamburg in 1853 on a tour of Germany with his violinist friend Eduard Remenyi. On the way he met the well-known violinist of his time, Joseph Joachim. The two became close friends and musical confidants. Brahms was given several letters of introduction from Joachim to carry on his trip. One was to Robert and Clara Schumann in Dusseldorf who welcomed the young composer with enthusiasm. Soon thereafter Brahms presented his recently composed Piano Trio in B Major to them and Clara recommended that he submit it for publication. Published in 1854, the work premiered October 13, 1855. Over 30 years later, Brahms revised this piano trio, publishing the second version in 1889 and performing its premiere in Budapest, January 19, 1890.
Thus, today there are two published versions of this work. Both contain four movements with the first and third movements in B Major and the second and fourth in B minor. The second version is shorter than the first and omits some of the extreme romanticism of the first. In 1889 Brahms wrote to Clara, “I have written my B Major Trio once more… It will not be as wild as before – but will it be better?”
The opening Allegro con brio begins with a subdued piano followed by the cello and finally the violin. The three instruments then weave in and out. The B minor Scherzo is essentially the same in both the first and second versions. Here some explosive moments may be reminiscent of Beethoven. The intimate Adagio has been likened to sitting alone in an empty cathedral. This is heard in the wide-spaced chords of the piano and a subtle dialogue between the strings. Some disquiet and agitation opens the Finale, with a cello solo accompanied by piano. Ultimately all three instruments are together in a well-balanced, spirited conversation.
Program Notes by Joella Utley