Ticket price
$25

Ticket purchase includes admission to a 7:00 PM Pre-concert Talk by the ensemble.

First United Methodist Church of Oak Ridge

New Date!  Friday, April 29, 2022.  7:30 PM concert.  7:00 PM pre-concert talk. 

 

Founded in 2013, the Cumberland Piano Trio has enjoyed performing for audiences throughout Middle and East Tennessee since that time.  The members – violinist Karen Kartal, cellist Dan Allcott and pianist Emi Kagawa – are well-known performers and teachers in the state and have additionally served as core performers in international performances of the Isotone New Music Group. The concert is part of our Penny4Arts programming offering FREE attendance for youths 18 and under.  

 

PROGRAM

Piano trio in g minor, op 17 by Clara Schumann (1819–1896)

I Allegro moderato

II Scherzo and trio

III Andante

IV Allegretto

 

“Tranquillo” from Piano Trio in B-flat, op. 65 by Arthur Foote (1853–1937)

 

~intermission~

 

 Piano trio in D major, op. 70 no. 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven  (1770–1827) 

I Allegro vivace

II Largo assai ed espressivo 

III Presto

 

This concert by the Cumberland Piano Trio is generously sponsored by 

Korsmeyer Endowment & Consulting.

 

The Chamber Music Series is supported by generous funding from Spectra Tech, Inc., the Feldman Family, Korsmeyer Endowment & Consulting, the Tom & Effie Carlson Estate, Bill Schwenterly, and individual donors.  Corporate funding and support for ORCMA’s 2021–2022 season is generously provided by UT-Battelle / Club ORNL, Spectra Tech, Inc., First United Methodist Church of Oak Ridge, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Oak Ridge, Oak Ridge Fund for Achieving Community Excellence, Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary Club Foundation, Tennessee Arts Commission & Tennessee Specialty Plates, Oak Ridge Public Library, Oak Ridge Institute for Continued Learning, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

 

 

Program Notes by Mike Cates

 

The Better Side of Us

Something we all sense: music brings out our better side. And for some that side is not easy to find! We live in strange, foreboding, thrilling, exciting, and challenging times and need the kind of therapy Beethoven, Foote, and Clara Schumann have created for us, interpreted for us by people we know well and who serve also to connect long past days with the here and now. Give yourself the reward of being transported into a world that words cannot explain, and let's all exercise our better sides.

 

Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770–1827)

Beethoven headshot

Trio in D-Major (Opus 70, No.1) “Ghost”
One of the notable tributes to the nineteenth century’s most famous – and arguably greatest – musician is that Beethoven has been called “the Shakespeare of music.” The phrase arose from the fact that the grand master plumbed the depths and heights of the human experience through the medium of music in the same incomparable way as had the Bard of Avon through words. Simi­larly to the supreme musician of his own day, J. S. Bach, in the century before, Beethoven moved through a number of phases in his life of composition. As a young man, Ludwig was a brilliant and innovative pianist, famed for his improvisational skills, and daring in his use of the orchestra. When his fame was es­tablished, both as composer and performer, Beethoven began to lose his hearing, forced thereby to de-emphasize performance in fa­vor of composition. It was during this second period that he wrote much of his most acces­sible masterpieces, including the Piano Trio now known as the “Ghost.” In the last decade of his life Beethoven’s musical vision moved from the world around him to the universe within himself, resulting in a sublime body of late works that continues to awe performers and hearers at the deepest levels of ineffa­ble profundity.

Beethoven's famous piano student, the composer Carl Czerny (1791–1857), wrote in 1842 that the second movement of the Piano Trio in D, the largo assai, reminded him of the ghost of Hamlet's father. And Beethoven indeed had been thinking of Shake­speare at the time, even to the point of considering an opera of Macbeth. The "Ghost" movement could have been something for a scene of the three Witches. (Whither shall we three meet again?) Whatever the inspiration, Czerny's notion was picked up and the work is known as the "Ghost" Trio.

But the music begins with a straightforward Beethoven-esque first movement, com­plete with the appropriate energy contrasted with a second section of cello “sweetness,” then a big development section, more of the sweetness, then a recall of the opening energy.

The celebrated “Ghost” then brings us into another kind of musical existence, begin­ning with three sustained notes from the strings and a somber response by the piano.  There are dark melodies there and a change in sensibility, as if some different group had been called on to express the new feelings. (At least that's how I hear it.) It's got all the good Beethoven stuff, especially tremolo to make us shake a little.

The finale returns us to daylight, away from the witches and their cauldron, with a hap­py theme that moves right along, full of interesting effects, like the pizzicato pat­terns just before the conclusion. The piano adds a sparkling aspect to the final flourish.

 

Arthur Foote (1853–1937)

Foote headshot
"Tranquillo" from Piano Trio in B-flat, op. 65
In the United States near the end of the 19th century there was a vibrant classical com­munity of musicians mostly centered in New England, in and around Boston. Arthur Foot was part of that community and is the first significant American composer whose training was all in the United States. He was a teacher, con­ductor and church musician; he wrote a lot of music which has mostly been for­gotten, though probably unfairly. You will learn that from listening to the slow movement from his second piano trio, written about 1907. Foote was an accomplished composer and his material was interesting and fresh, yet it never caught on like it would have, possibly, if the onrush of 20th century musical innovation had not begun. And it's fair to say that Foote was perhaps judged more harshly that his European contempo­raries. There has been some recent movement toward performing more of his music.

The “Tranquillo” movement from Foote's trio clearly shows that he was a composer of some merit who wrote music that was a pleasure to hear and experience. He was cer­tainly influ­enced by the well-known group of European composers of the day. In that featured second movement we hear a relaxed atmosphere that begins with a romantic theme expressed by the cello. There is a second theme, by the violin, that is a beautiful compliment to the first, and this leads to a wonderful duet between the strings.

 

Clara Schumann (1819–1896)

Clara Schumann headshot

Trio in g-minor, Opus 17

She was born Clara Josephine Wieck in Leipzig, and was from a family that could af­ford to give her a musical education. Soon she was a child prodigy on the piano, some­thing like Mozart had been some decades earlier. In 1838 she was elected to the prestigious Society of the Friends of Music (Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde) in Vienna, which was a great center of European music. Clara Wieck married Robert Schumann (1810–1856) in 1840 and was the mother of eight children by him over the next thirteen years. About 1853 the Schumanns became friends and promoters of Johannes Brahms (1833–1897). Clara Schumann was clearly at the center of the Germanic musical world of her time and one of the greatest musicians of the 19th century. It's easy to imagine her being even more famous had she not had such over­whelming responsibilities, both from being a mother and from treating a world-famous husband who had serious emotional and physi­cal problems. She toured extensively, es­pecially in her later years, as a way to support her family and had little time for composition. Yet what she did compose revealed her genius. The piano trio of Opus 17 is a clear example.

Clara Schumann's trio is a complex piece of chamber music, beautifully composed, and full of interesting ideas. There is a lot of Romanti­cism showing from the very beginning of the work. The themes of the opening movement are tinged with emotion, a kind of longing, with a nicely crafted development section and a short, intense ending. The scherzo second movement is in the “tempo of a min­uet,” in the classical style that was dominant earlier in the 19th century, with interesting playful rhythms. The third movement andante is like an extended song with some agi­tation in the middle (as Schubert might have done) to add to effect of the song. The last movement is very animated and dramatic, moving on to a final major chord.

 

 

 

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