Chamber Music Concert Filharmonia Narodowa

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Chamber Music Concert
Vadim Gluzman, fot. Marco Borggreve

Two “trifles” versus a pair of monumental (at least in size) works. The programme of this chamber concert is based on these contrasts. The rich repertoire of works for piano trio is brimming with masterpieces, but these four works are worth a special mention. Two trios from Dmitri Shostakovich showcase both his early efforts as a student as well as his maturity as a composer. The rarely performed Piano Trio in C Minor, Op. 8 was written in 1923 and, although it was performed at a conservatoire concert, it later disappeared for many years. The fragmentary score was reconstructed and completed only in the 1980s by Shostakovich’s pupil Boris Tishchenko. How close it is in its form to the original ideas of the young Shostakovich will forever remain a mystery. On the other hand, Trio No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 67, penned in 1944 and dedicated to the memory of the musicologist Ivan Sollertynsky is a work that was refined down to the smallest detail. It begins with an intriguing, sad theme (the harmonics of cello and violin give it an unusual, murmuring timbre), which returns in the demonic-grotesque finale. And although the Trio is not provided with a single word of commentary, there is no doubt that this is a music-reportage of hard times, or perhaps a commentary to any overwhelming reality.

Another evocative tribute to a friend is Arvo Pärt’s Mozart-Adagio, commissioned by the Helsinki Festival (1992) and written in memory of the eminent violinist Oleg Kagan. Here, Pärt “set” an 18th-century precious stone in a 20th-century frame by using the Adagio from Piano Sonata in F Major KV 280. Without destroying the structure of Mozart’s keyboard original, he added some interesting dissonances with a unique timbre.

Completing the variety of musical expression on display in this concert is Piano Trio in B-flat Major D. 898, composed in the last year of Schubert’s life and described by Schumann as “secretive, feminine and lyrical”. The first performance of the work was heard by some fifty enthusiastic participants of one of the “Schubertiades”. Trio in B-flat Major D. 898 had to wait “only” eight years to be published – appearing in 1836 as Op. 99.