October - November
Lightning in a Bottle
Duo for violin and cello op.7 Z. Kodaly
Allegro serioso, non troppo
Maestoso e largemente, ma non troppo lento
String Trio op.9 N3 in C-minor L. van Beethoven
Allegro con spirito
Adagio con espressione
Scherzo – Allegro molto e vivace
Finale – Presto
Sasha Callahan, violin
Alexander Vavilov, viola
Ying-Jun Wei, cello
Over the centuries many composers, most notably Haydn and Brahms, have successfully used Hungarian folk melodies to add zest and exotic flavor to their compositions. However Kodaly was the first one to succeed in delivering the true rustic spirit of the Hungarian folk style to the concert stage. His duo for violin and cello is a fine example of such endeavor. There are only two voices but they mash together and spring back apart with effortless grace and boundless energy moving seamlessly between soliloquy, dialogue and impression of a small band. The spirited yet always friendly competition between the two sometimes reaches a boiling point, and sometimes both join forces to create an astoundingly long arch drawn with a unified voice of boundless beauty. This highly virtuosic piece will take your breath away, perhaps even more than once, while the raw power and simple yet deep expression of its Hungarian folk spirit will stay with you long after the concert is done.
Beethoven’s C-minor string trio is the last of the three that he created only a few years before embarking onto his first string quartet project. Mastering this genre of composition was crucial for him. Immense amount of hard work and attention that he put into creating this music resulted in a masterpiece of an intense magnetic energy. The very first few bars draw us in with a powerful and expressive statement in unison by all three instruments and almost immediately the voices are scattered apart in a tapestry of complementing and intertwining rhythms. The infernal waltz continues almost ceaselessly throughout the first movement, takes a ponderous break in the second, resumes in a different shape in the third and wraps up in the fourth with a generous burst of fireworks. The fact that there are fewer players than in a quartet only makes the exchanges more rapid and energetic adding greatly to the highly charged pulse of this tumultuous piece.