Sept. 20, 2022
This week we have trios in mind…a bit of Beethoven to open, Ravel’s exotic trio in a-minor to close, and in between, a jazzy, klezmer inspired piece that would be at home in vaudeville; it’s Paul Schoenfield’s festive trio for violin, clarinet, and piano.
On the program
We begin our episode with Beethoven’s String Trio in G-major that he wrote when he was just 28 years old. Beethoven started out writing for string chamber ensembles by creating his trios which propelled him to the composition of his quartets. We’ll hear only the first movement which opens with a bit of melancholy but soon launches into a vigorous conversation among the three instruments. Played by some of the Manhattan Chamber Players, they are: Katie Hyun, violin; Luke Fleming, viola; and Jacob Fowler, cello. We then transition into Paul Schoenfield’s Trio for Clarinet, Violin, and Piano, which is a playful work that shows its roots in jazz. In 1986 clarinetist David Shifrin asked Schoenfield to write a trio, in which the challenge touched Paul’s deep interest in creating music for celebratory Hassidic gatherings that might also be appropriate for something completely different, that of a chamber music concert. The four movements of this work are labeled: “Freylakh,” “March,” “Niggun,” and “Kozatzke”performed by Arnaud Sussmann, violin; Alexander Fiterstein, clarinet; and Adam Golka, piano. This episode of Arizona Encore concludes with Ravel’s Piano Trio in a-minor that is said to be is magical yet solemn…exotic and colorful… and surprisingly for the times, not particularly political. When war broke out in Europe in 1914, Maurice Ravel had visions of soaring above the clouds as a fighter pilot in the French Air Force. He rushed the composition of this Piano Trio so he could enlist. By his own estimation, he completed 5 months worth of work in just five weeks. But he was small in stature, quite under-weight, and there was his age; he was already 40. He was rejected for frontline action; his military service was instead devoted early-on to caring for the wounded and then driving a truck for an artillery regiment. Maurice Ravel’s Piano Trio in a-minor is performed by the Gryphon Trio.