May 7, 2016: Trio con Brio Copenhagen

Trio con Brio Copenhagen

Soo-Jin Hong, violin

Soo-Kyung Hong, cello

Jens Elvekjaer, piano



Saturday, May 7, 2016 at 8 PM


Shostakovich: Piano Trio No. 1 in C minor, Op. 8

Beethoven: Piano Trio in E-flat major, Op. 70, No. 2

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


Dear friends,

Our Season Finale concert features Trio con Brio Copenhagen. Founded in Vienna in 1999, they have gone on to win most of the international competitions for piano trios in Munich, Florence and Norway. The press has lavished almost unseemly praise upon them, calling the trio: “…one of today’s most dazzling chamber ensembles” (Buffalo News); “…one of the finest piano trios on the current scene” (The New Yorker); and praising their début CD as “…one of the greatest performances of chamber music I’ve ever encountered!” (American Record Guide)

The Trio will open their concert with the Shostakovich Piano Trio No. 1 in C minor, Op. 8. Shostakovich composed the trio in 1923, at the age of only sixteen, while in a sanitorium recovering from tuberculosis. The work, Poème, is only in one movement and is dedicated to Tatyana Glivenko, with whom he was in love. The piece reflects a Romanticism which he later repudiated. Trio con Brio writes that: “Even though it is an early work, it shows all the trademarks that made Shostakovich such a remarkable composer – irony, sarcasm, rhythmic sharpness, but also melodic sweetness.”

Beethoven Piano Trio in E-flat major, Op. 70, No. 2. Trio con Brio writes that this was a very personal work for Beethoven and seems to them to represent the very essence of chamber music, with the opening bars creating an almost religious atmosphere. It was composed in 1808 along with the famous “Ghost Trio” (Op.70, No.1), right in the middle of his “middle period”, and in the same year as his 5th and 6th symphonies.

Of the Trio in E flat, the eminent musicologist Donald Francis Tovey wrote that Beethoven had achieved an “integration of Mozart’s and Haydn’s resources, with results that transcend all possibility of resemblance to the style of their origins…” (John Palmer, Allmusic). Both trios appear far removed from the classical models in terms of length, intensity, and originality of musical invention (M. Berger, Guide to Chamber Music).

Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor, Op. 66 followed six years after his D minor in 1845, and was dedicated to the violinist Louis Spohr. Mendelssohn wrote to Spohr, “I would like to have saved the honour for a somewhat longer piece, but then I should have had to put it off, as I have so often of late. Nothing seemed good enough to me, and in fact neither does this trio.” Mendelssohn’s energy and health were beginning to fail, and he had retired from his orchestral duties. But there is no sign of weakness in the C minor Trio. It is as fine a work as its companion, and if it has never been as popular as the D minor, this is because it does not wear its melody on its sleeve in quite the same way.

For Mendelssohn’s generation, writing a work in C minor had particular resonance with the music of Mozart and Beethoven. Mozart’s Piano Concerto in C minor was greatly admired by Beethoven for its uniquely ambivalent mood of serene tragedy. Beethoven’s works in C minor have a characteristically rugged seriousness of purpose – the ‘Pathétique’ Sonata, Fifth Symphony, and Overture to Coriolan – and they in turn were admired by Mendelssohn and his contemporaries. Joachim once heard Mendelssohn play the Overture to Coriolan on the piano from the full score, in which ‘he brought out the effects of the orchestral score in a most astonishing manner’. It is easy to imagine this scene as Mendelssohn’s Trio in C minor gets under way.

This work does not start with a fully-fledged melody, but with a swirling pattern rising up from the bass. But Mendelssohn can never resist melody for long, and as the piano becomes more agitated the violin and cello sing above it. With such a turbulent start to the movement, one might expect the second theme to be a quiet contrast. But it emerges fortissimo out of the climax, only then calming to a gentle melody.  A meditation on the second theme follows, led by the cello, with fragments of the opening pattern interwoven. Seamlessly, we find ourselves back where we started, with the piano still playing fragments of the second theme as the violin and cello launch into the reprise of the opening. The sequence of events proceeds much as before, subsiding into a moment of hush. From this emerges an almost ecclesiastical-sounding interweaving of violin and cello, and the sense of ancient grandeur is enhanced by the strings playing the opening pattern at half speed in counterpoint with the piano. A mighty crescendo follows, and, after a pause, the movement hammers to its close with almost Beethoven-like ferocity. (Robert Phillips, Hyperion Records, 2005).

CLICK HERE to hear the opening of the Mendelssohn trio performed by the Beaux Arts Trio


The Season Finale’s young artist will be flutist Jaena Kim performing Chaconne, Caprice No. 30 by Sigfrid Karg-Elert (1877-1933).

Eighteen-year-old Jaena Kim is currently studying at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music with Denis Bluteau. She began her studies at age six, and debuted with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra at age thirteen. She has since performed as a soloist with the WSO on numerous occasions, as well as with the Winnipeg Youth Orchestra, and the Winnipeg Wind Ensemble.

Under the guidance of Layla Roberts, Jaena has won numerous awards at local, provincial and national competitions including first-place at the Federation of Canadian Music Festival’s National Competition, the Canadian Music Competition and the Women’s Musical Club of Winnipeg’s Scholarship Competition. On April 22, 2016, she was a prizewinner in the Women’s Musical Club Doris McLellan Competition for Solo Performance. She has attended Domain Forget and the Banff Centre’s Master Class for Strings and Winds in her summers, playing in master classes for renowned artists such as Emmanuel Pahud, Philippe Bernold. Patrick Gallois, Ransom Wilson and Jeanne Baxtresser.

Jaena is also an active chamber musician as a member of the McGill Symphony Orchestra. She has served as principal flute of the National Youth Band of Canada and the Winnipeg Youth Orchestra. She has obtained her Performance ARCT from the Royal Conservatory of Music in both flute and piano. She is the recipient of the Women’s Musical Club Centennial Scholarship and wishes to acknowledge the support of the Manitoba Arts Council.

See you at the concert.