From Beethoven to Chopin - Chamber Concerto

6th October (Sunday), 5 pm - The Old Town Hall
“From Beethoven to Chopin” – chamber concerto
Tickets: 30/25 (BUY TICKET)
Albrecht Menzel (Germany) – violin (winner of the first prize in the fourth edition of the competition in 2016)
Ella van Poucke (The Netherlands) – cello
Magda Amara (Austria) – piano
L. van Beethoven – Trio in B-flat major, Op.11, "Gassenhauser"
F. Chopin – Piano Trio in g minor, Op.8
F. Mendelssohn – Piano Trio d minor, No. 1

The Piano Trio in B flat major Op. 11 No. 4 by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) was composed in 1797 and originally intended for the piano, clarinet and cello. It is no coincidence that Beethoven used this particular key, especially convenient to clarinettists, although admittedly the clarinet part is also performed by violinists. The piece is also known as the Gassenhauer Trio, since in the third movement Beethoven developed a theme from Joseph Weigl’s drama giocoso entitled L’amor marinaro ossia Il corsaro, an opera that at the time was performed to great acclaim in Vienna. The Trio in B flat major was first presented on 15 October 1797 and dedicated to Countess Maria Wilhelmina von Thun, mother-in-law of Karl Lichnowsky, Beethoven’s long-time patron.

The Piano Trio in G minor Op. 8 by Fryderyk Chopin (1810–1849) was composed in 1829. The first movement, Allegro con fuoco, is enthused with a truly Beethovenian spirit. Its monumental opening is followed by a subtle, lyrical part of the violin and cello that develop the first theme. The instrumentation is subject to frequent changes of key, especially in the piano part. The third movement, Adagio sostenuto, is preceded with a scherzo, in keeping with the model established by Beethoven. The Adagio is untypical of Chopin, as it also carries Beethovenian overtones. In the finale, a classic rondo appears, marked by the dancing rhythm of the Krakowiak in the refrain. As Robert Schumann wrote: ‘Is it [i.e. this trio] not distinguished by its unconceivable nobility? It is so dreamlike; no poet has ever sung like that.’ Marceli Antoni Szulc noted that it was ‘beautiful beyond comparison.’

As for the Piano Trio in D minor Op. 49 by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1809–1847), Robert Schumann wrote the following in 1840: ‘It is a masterly trio of our time, just like Beethoven’s trios in B flat major and in D major or Franz Schubert’s in E flat major. The composition is amazingly beautiful, it will bring delight to many generations to come. Here is the Mozart of the nineteenth century.’ The conductor Ferdinand Hiller, who came to Leipzig in 1839, also complimented Mendelssohn’s work: ‘The fire and the spirit, the tempo and the undeniably masterful character of the whole piece have greatly impressed me.’ The premiere of the Trio in D minor took place on 1 February 1840 in Leipzig’s Gewandhaus. Feliks Mendelssohn sat at the piano, while the violin and cello parts were performed by two virtuosos of the Leipzig orchestra, Ferdinand David and Franz Carl Wittmann.