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Trio Isimsiz

Piano trio
Saturday 15th January, 2022 at 7:30pm

The Music Nairn committee has decided that it would not be responsible to have the January 15th Trio Isimsiz concert in the light of the surge in Omicron cases.  The concert is therefore postponed.  Those who have bought tickets will receive a refund from the Community Centre.

Formed in 2009 at the Guildhall School (where they are currently Fellows) Trio Isimsiz were selected by Young Classical Artists Trust in 2013 and went on to win first prize at the Trondheim Competition.  They have since been awarded a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship, and have appeared at Wigmore Hall, Snape Maltings, and prestigious venues throughout Europe.  Further afield they have undertaken tours to China and Argentina and recorded their first CD in 2020.
The three members, Erdem Misirlioglu, Pablo Hernán Benedí and Michael Petrov also have very successful individual careers.

Programme Notes:

Lili Boulanger (1893-1918)   D'un soir triste or A sad evening 
Born in to a family culture of professional music, Lili Boulanger was the first woman to win the prestigious Prix de Rome Prize in 1913.  Throughout her short-lived life, she focussed at a level of genius in the face of a recurrent intestinal illness.  D'un soir triste is one of two contrasting tone poems Lili Boulanger was able to score by her own hand.  It was left to her older sister, Nadia Boulanger to add the articulations and dynamics to the work.  Nadia Boulanger was also a gifted musician too and became the most notable composition teacher of the 20th century.  At the time of her sister's death, D'un soir triste was shelved by Nadia until her own death in 1979.
D'un soir triste is slow in tempo and elegiac in mood.  Boulanger skilfully uses a palette of modal sounds to create moments so soft, beautiful, and almost transcendent.  In contrast, we hear striking dissonance too, with the music swelling up to several harsh climaxes.  We are drawn inwards towards a world with impending doom as the work suggests both a musical obituary and an elegy for the soldiers lost in WW1.

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)   Piano Trio in C major Op. 87 No.2 
Andante con moto
Presto Scherzo
Allegro Giocoso 
Brahms' second piano trio was a two year project from 1880 until its completion in 1882.  It is a deeply serious work: heavily scored and roiling with rhythmic ambiguities - a trade mark of the composer's compositional style.  The opening Allegro cycles through an abundance of musical ideas with an emphasis on the bold, triadic opening motif played on the violin and 'cello alone.  Themes unfold in a continuous flow with conflicting cross-rhythms between duple and triple motivic grouping keeping the texture restless and irregular with swells of sounds and counterbalancing ebbs.
The texture is more simplified in the Andante con moto with a theme and 5 variations based on a folk-like tune, flecked with a biting 'Scottish snap' in the melody line and a ponderous throb in the accompaniment. 
The Presto Scherzo is a nervous, jittery piece with a beautiful lyrical melody in the Trio section.  The final movement Allegro Giocoso, delights in the continuation of its themes, balancing a coy playfulness with an impressive heftiness in texture bringing the Trio to a powerful and bold conclusion. 

Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996)   Between Tides 
Between Tides was written in 1993 and is approx. a 15 minute work that embraces the motion of waves and water landscapes through weaving melodic gestures and dynamic swells.  Throughout the piece there are traces of Debussy and Messiaen's impressionistic approaches to be heard in the silky string harmonics, tremolos and hazy sul ponticello effects all painting a vivid soundscape evocative of tides and waves.  From the piano speaks a rich harmonic language exuding colourful undertones of jazz.  Lyrical and haunting in equal measure, Between Tides is a strong example of Takemitsu's ability to create effective sonic effects with subtle manoeuvrings of instrumental colours and techniques.  With many works to his name, Takemitsu exhibits a unique sound world, blending Japanese musical qualities with the Western classical idiom. 

Dimitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)   Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor Op.67 
Allegro con brio
Shostakovich's Piano Trio No.2 was completed and premiered in 1944 with the composer himself playing the piano.  The work is dedicated in memory to his closest friend, Ivan Sollertinsky, a musicologist, linguist and critic.
The opening movement begins with a slow fugal introduction positing a theme eerily whistled in high harmonics on the cello before an assumption by the piano and violin.  Folkloristic - type melodies dovetail with sweeping phrases creating a feeling of instability. The music builds to a powerful climax before closing into an introspective quietude.  In the Allegro con brio, Shostakovich shows himself at his most wickedly sardonic and energetic self.  Pacing on the sidelines of this movement is a hint of Mahleristic darkness and irony.  The Largo, a passacaglia, is a lament from the violin and 'cello played over the piano's relentless chords.  Shostakovich maintains a deeply mournful tone through five wrenching variations based on eight heavily weighted chords from the piano. 
The Allegretto incorporates material from preceding the movements as well as melodies intended to evoke Jewish dance music.  This final movement builds from a Jewish theme in violin pizzicato to a climax of gigantic proportions.  Shostakovich lived through two revolutions, two world wars and a cruel era of Stalinistic rule.  He was horrified by reports from the Red Army that prisoners in Nazi death camps had been forced to dance to their deaths, and also, he was shameful of the long history of anti-semitism in his own country.  This Piano Trio fulfils its intended role as a memorial to a close friend whilst serving as a pointed and painful commentary to the incalculable loss of life and suffering brought about by the darkest side of our human nature.


Lili Boulanger D'un soir triste
Brahms Piano trio in C major op 87 no 2
Takemitsu Between Tides (1993)
Shostakovich Piano Trio no 2 in E minor op 67

Venue & Arrangements

Nairn Community & Arts Centre
69 King Street
IV12 4BQ

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Christina Lawrie and Marcus Barcham Stevens
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Red Priest
baroque supergroup
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Marmen String Quartet
string quartet