HAUNTING VISIONS - Lunchtime Recital
Minerva Piano Trio - St. John’s Smith Square Young Artists 2016
Dmitri Shostakovich - Trio in C minor, Op. 8
Gavin Higgins - Ruins of Detroit (2014)
Ludwig van Beethoven - Trio in D major, Op. 70 No. 1, ‘Ghost’
Shostakovich’s first piano trio was written when he was 17. Originally entitled ‘Poème’, it was dedicated to Tatiana Gliwenko, with whom he had fallen in love. In one single movement, romantic melodies are juxtaposed with pungent harmonies and pulsating, insistent rhythms. Though the piece eventually transforms from the grotesque to the triumphant, a sense of foreboding is never far away.
Shortlisted for the 2015 British Composer Awards, Gavin Higgins’ The Ruins of Detroit is in three movements: I. Ballroom, Lee Plaza Hotel II. Car, Michigan Theatre III. Piano, St Albertus School. Each of the movement titles is derived from the haunting images by photographers Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre. The rise and fall of the industrial revolution in America had created the city of Detroit and destroyed it. According to the photographers’ website, “Its splendid decaying monuments are, no less than the Pyramids of Egypt, the Coliseum of Rome, or the Acropolis in Athens, remnants of the passing of a great Empire”.
Written in 1808, Beethoven’s Trio in D Op. 70 No. 1, known as the ‘Ghost Trio’, is a seminal work in the piano trio genre, more so than his earlier three piano trios of Opus 1. The title ‘Ghost’ was given by his pupil Czerny, who wrote in 1842 that the slow movement reminded him of the first appearance of the Ghost in Hamlet. This movement has been said to surpass all of Beethoven’s middle-period slow movements in dramatic suspense and atmospheric effects.
with RIchard Birchall (cello), Annie Yim (piano)