Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lancaster Trio: The Program

Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano H. 300 by B. Martinu 
Poco Allegretto
Adagio Andante-Allegretto Scherzando

Trio in G Minor Op. 63 by C.M. Weber
 Allegro moderato
 Scherzo. Allegro vivace
 Schafers Klage:Andante espressivo
 Finale. Allegro

Vox Balaenae (Voice of the Whale) by G. Crumb 
 Vocalise- Sea Theme
 Sea Nocturne

Additional Notes

Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano H. 300 by B. Martinu 
"After an arduous departure from Hitler’s Europe, where his music had been blacklisted, Martinů and his wife arrived in New York in 1941. Serge Koussevitzky of the Boston Symphony Orchestra had championed his orchestral music since the early 1930s, and he encouraged the disheartened immigrant by commissioning his First Symphony and offering him a summer teaching position at Tanglewood. Martinů never really settled anywhere, but lived briefly in various locations across New England, including Cape Cod.

The three-movement Trio for Flute, Cello, and Piano from 1944 is close kin to the Flute Sonata of the following year. A Poco allegretto opening has a genial spirit and infectious motoric rhythms. The following Adagio starts in a quietly reflective mood and then shifts to a more declamatory bardic vein before coming to a peaceful close. After a brief slow introduction, the concluding Andante–Allegretto scherzando launches its main section with a turbulent, running first theme that alternates with a more measured second subject, though energetic bustle predominates throughout.

The Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano meets the expectations of the listener-reader: inexhaustible invention. I would add only that the cello, that most soulful of instruments, lends the Trio a welcome gravitas and warmth."
--Fenwick Smith

Trio in G Minor Op. 63 by C.M. Weber
"On 25 July 1819 Weber completed the Trio for flute, cello and piano in G minor in Hosterwitz, his peaceful summer residence up the Elbe above Dresden. It had its first playthrough in the Spohrs’ house on 21 November, when, he noted in his diary, ‘it went very well, and came off just as I wanted’...

 As always with Weber, the opening movement has a highly personal approach to sonata form. It is melodically rich, with a graceful opening theme and a gentle second subject, a figure in octaves between cello and piano that comes to dominate the entire movement. Though the warm and impassioned development section begins with the second subject, and brings with it yet another new melody in the major key, it is with the opening theme that the movement ends.

The Scherzo has no real trio section, but contrasts a violent, drumming theme in the minor with a graceful major-key flute melody for which Weber might have found room in his next work, Invitation to the Waltz. It is, however, the pounding piano octave theme that concludes the movement.

The thematic richness of the work takes a new form with the Finale, which compresses into its eight opening bars a wide-ranging piano line and its answer in the bass.. The immediate answer is not development of them, but a completely new tune from the flute. This melodic profusion, in all its variety, permeates the movement, and it is in the extremes of contrast that the essence of the whole work lies. Even within a classical framework, Weber’s Romantic imagination is running high."
 from notes by John Warrack © 2005 

Vox Balaenae (Voice of the Whale) by G. Crumb 

"As the environmental movement took hold in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and “save the whales” became more than just a bumper sticker, George Crumb’s groundbreaking Vox Balaenae [1971] provided a distinct musical voice to this cause while creating a richly vivid landscape (or seascape) of sound and texture.

 Crumb puts the contemporary relationship between man and whale on a much broader scale, painting a picture that encapsulates the vast spans of history that predate man’s interaction with the sea and its inhabitants before introducing the inevitable conflict. This chronological musical journey touches upon elements of science, history, religion and existential philosophy, as well various moral and ethical questions.

The players each wear black half-masks throughout the performance of the work. In Crumb’s own words, “by effacing a sense of human projection, [the masks] will symbolize the powerful, impersonal faces of nature,” while the oft-used blue lighting enhances the figurative immersion into the sea. Although inspired by recordings of humpback whale song, Crumb bypasses the use of tape and instead calls upon the three musicians to produce sounds naturally aided by amplification and extended technique, allowing for a remarkable scope of range in dynamics, color and emotion."

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