TRIO in E-flat Major
for Clarinet, Cello and Piano, Op. 441
AIR AND VARIATIONS
for Violin, Clarinet and Piano (1957)
TRIO in D Minor
for Violin, Cello and Piano, Op. 11
As an all-female ensemble, Orion has often programmed individual works by women composers, but this is the first series of concerts dedicated entirely to performing their works.
The concert opens with Chicago composer Stacy Garrop's Silver Dagger for Violin, Cello and Piano (2009).This short piece emanates from Garrop's fascination with an Appalachian folk tune of the same name. The dramatic work seems to speak of hardship, beginning with soft mysterious sounds and building into a frenzy before abruptly returning to a quieter reiteration of the theme and closing with quiet cries in the strings, played over the piano's low, hushed moan.
Louise Farrenc's Trio in E-flat Major for Clarinet, Cello and Piano, Op. 44, although dating from the Romantic period, has a distinctly classical feel. French composer Farrenc (1804-75) was renowned as a pianist, regarded as a first-rate composer and awarded a prestigious position at the Paris Conservatory. The Trio is extremely well crafted and combines the timbres of the three instruments with finesse.
British composer Phyllis Tate's (1911-85) Air and Variations for Clarinet, Violin and Piano (1957) explores various combinations of sound and texture; in fact, three of the variations omit one instrument to fully exploit possibilities inherent in a particular pairing. The variations take the form of an aubade, a waltz, a serenade, a tarantella and a fugue.
The Piano Trio in D Minor, Op. 11 by German composer Fanny Mendelssohn (1805-1847) concludes the performance. A kindred spirit of her brother Felix (who allowed some of her songs to be published under his name to garner them more attention), Fanny composed her trio in the same key as his renowned trio for the same combination of instruments. The virtuosic Piano Trio is evidence of the scope of her musical imagination, as well her prowess at the piano.