Streeton Trio

Friday, 9 November 2018 at 8pm

Benjamin Kopp (piano), Emma Jardine (violin), Meta Weiss ('cello)

 

Tickets for this concert can be purchased in advance

 

Programme

Beethoven                Piano trio in B-flat major, Op 97, Archduke

Schubert                   Piano trio no 2 in E-flat major, Op 100, D 929

About the Artists

The history and achievements of the Streeton Trio are impressive. Formed in 2008 in Geneva by three young Australian musicians, the trio was later selected to be a part of the prestigious European Chamber Music Academy. The trio has toured extensively and to much acclaim in Australia and overseas.  The trio’s CD performances have been rated highly by critics and the public. In 2017, the trio became Fine Music Ensemble in Residence. 

Trio members - Benjamin Kopp (piano), Emma Jardine (violin) and Meta Weiss ('cello) - are each outstanding musicians. They bring fresh interpretations and insights into the great works of the chamber music repertoire. Their performances are distinguished by subtlety, nuance and dramatic range

Read more about the members of the Streeton Trio

 

Programme Notes

Their concert featuring two of the greatest and best- loved works in the piano trio repertoire - Beethoven’s Archduke trio and Schubert’s piano trio no 2 - will bring the Sydney Mozart Society 2018 concert season to a thrilling close. These are works that have powerful grandeur, noble themes and rich drama, expressed with an emotional warmth and humanity that is truly uplifting.

Beethoven   Piano Trio in B- flat major Op 97, Archduke

Allegro moderato/Scherzo (Allegro)/Andante cantabile, ma però con moto – Poco più adagio/ Allegro moderato

Beethoven composed the ‘Archduke’ Trio during 1810-11. It was a period of his life when, at the age of 40 a proposal of marriage to the niece of his physician had been rejected and his deafness was becoming an increasingly devastating impediment.  The Trio was given its first public performance in 1814 at a charity concert in Vienna, with Beethoven himself as the pianist. It was evident that his performance ability was in decline and after a repeat of the performance a few weeks later Beethoven did not appear in public again as a pianist.

As Grove’s Dictionary observes, Beethoven’s new concern in the sonatas and chamber works of his middle period was lyricism which inspired such major works of a different character as the Piano Sonata in F sharp Op. 78, the ‘Archduke’ Trio and the Violin Sonata Op. 96. Beethoven had never written such beautiful slow movements as he now wrote for the ‘Harp’ Quartet, the ‘Archduke’ Trio and the Fifth Piano Concerto, completed in 1809.

The first movement of the Trio is an expansive sonata form of majestic proportions. R.H. Schauffer considers the second movement, a witty scherzo, “one of the master’s foremost contributions to this form of his invention”. The slow movement (andante cantabile) contains some of Beethoven’s most movingly beautiful and otherworldly music.  The movement is a set of four variations, with the theme, one of Beethoven’s noblest melodies, containing deep organ harmonies. The movement’s coda is characterised by an ecstatic recitative. The slow movement leads straight into the ebullient finale, a sonata rondo with an extended Presto coda.

Rudolph Johann Joseph Rainer, Archduke of Austria (1788 – 1831) was the youngest son of Emperor Leopold II of Austria. Rudolph inherited an interest in the arts from his Hapsburg ancestors and  completed serious music studies.  He had piano and later composition lessons from Beethoven. He was originally intended for a military career but, perhaps because of his ill health, went into the Church and became a Cardinal and Archbishop.  Rudolph assisted with Beethoven’s financial needs from 1809, which continued to Beethoven’s death in 1827 and a sincere friendship developed between the two over many years.  Beethoven dedicated a total of fourteen works to him including the Fourth and Fifth Piano Concertos, ‘Fidelio’ and the Missa Solemnis. It is a fitting legacy that one of Beethoven’s greatest works should bear the Archduke’s name.

                                                                                                                             R. C.

Schubert  Piano Trio in E-flat major, Op 100, D 929

Allegro/Andante con moto/Scherzo (Allegro moderato)/Allegro moderato

Schubert’s E flat Piano Trio, completed in November 1827 had its first performance at Schubert’s only public concert on March 26 1828.  The concert was overshadowed by the appearance in Vienna of the celebrated Paganini, but the work was nevertheless Schubert’s first artistic and financial success. In contrast, Schubert’s other major work for the genre, the Op 99 Trio in B flat was not published until eight years after Schubert’s death and had its only performance in his lifetime at a private occasion for the celebration of his friend Joseph Spaun’s engagement.

Comparisons are often made between the two Trios.  Alfred Einstein’s view is that the later work is certainly superior to the earlier but in the opinion of Schubert scholar John Reed the E flat trio lacks the internal thematic unity of B flat.  Robert Schumann describes the E flat Trio as “active, masculine, dramatic, while the B flat is passive, feminine, lyrical”.

Schumann refers to the first movement of the E flat Trio as “eloquent of extreme anger and passionate longing” The movement presents four thematic ideas, the last of which dominates the long development section with “its character of continuing modulating dialogue” (Uwe Kraemer). Einstein notes that the lyrical third subject recalls the “Unfinished”. In the Andante, Schubert is thought to have used a Swedish folk song “The Sun is setting”, which Schubert heard the tenor Isaac Albert Berg singing at the Fröhlich sisters’ house, to which Schubert adds a march like accompaniment giving it an ominous effect. The theme develops into a grand, emotional ballad, becoming one of Schubert’s most moving inspirations (Einstein).

The Scherzo invokes the spirit of Haydn with its witty canon between the strings and the piano in octaves. The Finale which moves between sonata and rondo form starts in a relaxed Mozartian fashion but the “Swedish” theme returns twice recalling the melancholy mood, before the return in the Coda to a more triumphant conclusion.

                                                                                                                             R. C.