October 17, 2015 Pavel Kolesnikov & The Dover Quartet

Pavel Kolesnikov, piano

The Dover Quartet

Joel Link, Bryan Lee, violins

Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, viola

Camden Shaw, cello



Saturday, October 17, 2015

8 PM


Beethoven: Seven Bagatelles, Op. 33 (Mr. Kolesnikov)

Beethoven: String Quartet No. 7 in F major, Op. 59, No. 1 “Razoumovsky” (Dover Quartet)

Shostakovich: Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 57


Dear friends,

As you can see from the remarks in Audience as Critic, our three Russians of the Hermitage Piano Trio created quite a strong impression on our audience on the opening night of our 25th Anniversary celebrations. We will try for a return engagement in a future season.

The season’s fourth Russian is pianist Pavel Kolesnikov, winner of the 2012 Honens International Piano Competition, performing with the Dover Quartet, winner of the 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition. Each will perform a major work by Beethoven before joining together in the powerful Piano Quintet in G minor by Dmitri Shostakovitch, which the musicians describe below as “…enigmatic, bittersweet and pure, with tremendous angst and subversion!”

We invited the musicians to write a short artistic vision statement describing the programme they designed to perform for Virtuosi Concerts. Their responses are so articulate, insightful and personal that I include them for you herein.

Pavel wrote:

“Op.33 is the most humorous out of the three sets of Bagatelles Beethoven wrote. Witty, ironic and elegant, and sometimes even comedic, these pieces, nonetheless, do not exhibit the earthy qualities of his robust late humour. This little unpretentious masterpiece is delightful with its every small detail. Even the harmonic shifts between the pieces don’t seem to be random. The 2 lyrical slow pieces, No.4 and No.6, are infused with a special dose of magic that act as a clever trick to elevate the whole cycle beyond ‘just a joke’.

It never ceases to amaze me how paradoxical and multi-layered Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet Op. 57 is. It is, in some way, quite non-typical both for Shostakovich and its genre. Not a powerhouse virtuoso piece, nor overly dramatic, the piece’s intensity is found in the most profound lyricism, melancholy, and intimacy. And it’s these qualities that are braced by the most fascinating and thoughtful structure Shostakovich was such a master of. For me, the Quintet is invisibly connected to one of Shostakovich’s major influences, Gustav Mahler, and perhaps in particular, to Mahler’s 4th Symphony. It is enigmatic, bittersweet and pure.”

The Dover Quartet wrote:

“We’re thrilled to be presenting this program alongside the renowned pianist Pavel Kolesnikov, in what will no doubt be an exciting evening of music-making!  In our view, both Beethoven’s quartet Op. 59, No.1 and Shostakovich’s piano quintet are examples of composers pushing the limits in a way that made people uncomfortable- yet in both cases, they were potent, original, and in every sense deserve the label ‘masterpiece.’

Opus 59, No.1 is one of our all-time favourite Beethoven quartets, which is saying something considering the wealth of incredible material he produced!  Every movement has such distinct character, memorable melodies, tremendous contrasts, and for the first time in his quartet repertoire he uses the dynamic ppp- pianississimo — something he only does a few more times in his career.  There are tender moments in both the first and third movements that are some of the most heartbreakingly beautiful writing in all of music — and the first glimpses into the profundity of the late quartets.

The Shostakovich Piano Quintet is one of the best examples of the absurdity surrounding the composer’s life.  Despite being decidedly anti-Stalin (albeit privately, of course) this quintet was awarded, of all things, the Stalin Prize.  This irony is particularly fitting considering that much of the piece is a satire:  the scherzo movement, for instance, like some possessed dance with the veneer of jollity but with real insanity not far below the surface – and the finale, which ends in an absurdly sweet, innocent way.  In a sense, that’s Shostakovich in a nutshell — tremendous angst and subversion, all hidden just behind a peeling veneer of comedy.  There is a raw power to this piece that is electrifying to perform, and we look forward to sharing it with you.”

Sensitive writing seduces us into wanting to talk to the writers. You can meet them after you hear them perform — at a special reception sponsored by the upcoming 2016 Banff International String Quartet Competition. Ticket and residence packages for the competition will available any day now!

All the works on the programme are readily available by surfing You Tube. For those unaccustomed to thinking of Beethoven as witty and funny, I recommend listening to the Seven Bagatelles, Op. 33. Here are the first five, performed by a man of great wit and musical intelligence, Glenn Gould.


And opening the concert, as part of our Young Artist Program will be Sean Taubner. Sean has performed with orchestras and ensembles across Canada, the United States, and Japan. Holding a Masters of Music from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he has participated in several prestigious music festivals and performed several solo and ensemble recitals. He is currently based in his home town of Winnipeg, taking auditions for orchestras and teaching. He will be performing J.S. Bach’s Prelude, Suite No. 3 in C major, BWV 1009 for unaccompanied cello.

See you soon,