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April 18, 2015: Kang • Mercer • Park Piano Trio

Kang • Mercer • Park Piano Trio

Judy Kang, violin;
Rachel Mercer, cello;
Angela Park, piano

“THE ARCHDUKE”
Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 8:00 PM

Programme:

BEETHOVEN:
Piano Trio in B-flat major, Op. 97 “Archduke”

BACH:
Partita No. 3 in E major, BWV 1006 for solo violin

MENDELSSOHN:
Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor, Op. 66

Dear Friends,

Our next concert presents the Kang • Mercer • Park Piano Trio as part of their Prairie Debut western tour.

The Artists:

Violinist Judy Kang enjoys a busy career having collaborated with such artists as Pierre Boulez, Lynn Harrell, Leon Fleischer, and even Lady Gaga. She has also been featured as a concerto soloist with top orchestras across Canada and around the world.

Grand prize winner of the Amsterdam Vriendenkrans Competition, Rachel Mercer wears many artistic hats. She is cellist of the Mercer-Park Duo, Ensemble Made In Canada, the Seiler Trio, and Octagon. She is also the  Artistic Director of the “5 at the First” chamber series in Hamilton, and recently released a critically acclaimed recording of the complete Bach Solo Cello Suites.

Top prize winner of numerous national and international competitions, pianist Angela Park is in demand as soloist and collaborative partner throughout North America. She has previously been Visiting Assistant Professor of Collaborative Piano at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, and during the 2014-2105 season, she is the Artist in Residence at Western University with Ensemble Made In Canada.

The Programme:

Beethoven’s Archduke was Rudolph, the youngest son of Emperor Leopold II, an accomplished (amateur-aristocrat) pianist, and a student and patron of Beethoven. In response to a rumour (likely started by Beethoven) that the great composer might leave Vienna for greener pastures, Rudolph initiated an annuity with the proviso that Beethoven never leave “Austrian lands”! And he never did. Hence, the dedication.

The Piano Trio in B-flat major, op. 97 was completed in 1811 and was premiered in 1814, with Beethoven on piano. “It was not a treat”, wrote composer Louis Spohr who had attended a rehearsal. “The piano was out of tune, the poor deaf man pounded on the keys in the forte passages until the strings jangled and played so softly in the piano sections that whole groups of tones were omitted.” It was Beethoven’s last public performance as a pianist.

Nonetheless, the piece proved popular from the outset, except among the critics of the time who thought it bizarre and obscure. However, the celebrated pianist Ignaz Moscheles wrote that it was full of originality. The critics had yet to develop the necessary mental template for assimilating the rush of new ideas from Beethoven.

The piece was conceived as a “symphony scored for a trio” and is generally considered “among the towering masterpieces of Beethoven’s entire chamber-music output”, wrote musicologist James M. Keller (Chamber Music: A Listener’s Guide).

Bach’s Partita No. 3 in E major was his final work for solo unaccompanied violin. Of the three partitas, this is also his most exuberant, and the many irresistible dance tunes will have us tapping our feet and smiling to ourselves. It is also sublimely beautiful.

Felix Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No, 2 in C minor, Op. 66 was completed in 1845 and dedicated to Louis Spohr who joined him in performances.

Mendelssohn was a precocious genius – “the Mozart of the 19th century” – said Robert Schumann. During his short life (1809-1847), Mendelssohn made his reputation very early as a composer, conductor, violinist, pianist, and even as a painter.

Mendelssohn would be proud to be included in this programme alongside Beethoven whose late quartets had a profound musical influence upon him, and Bach whose musical revival he spearheaded with the historic performance in 1829 of the St. Matthew Passion – the first since Bach’s death in 1750 – conducted by Mendelssohn.

For music-lovers like us, all three works are emotionally moving and full of meaning, but beyond words. We simply cannot articulate the meaning of the myriad musical ideas we encounter. All we can do is listen.

Here are samples to prepare you for the concert.

Beethoven’s Archduke, performed  by Daniel Barenboim, Pinchas Zuckerman and Jacqueline Du Pré. Click here.

Bach Partita No. 3, performed by Hilary Hahn. Click here.

Mendelssohn Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor, Op. 66, performed by Yuja Wang, Leonidas Kavakos, Gautier Capuçon. Click here.

This will be an exciting concert. See you at Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall on April 18th at 8 pm.

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