United States Beethoven: Emanuel Ax (piano), Leonidas Kavakos (violin), Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Symphony Middle, Chicago, 11.3.2022. (JLZ)
Beethoven – Symphony No.6 in F main Op.68, ‘Pastoral’ (arr. Shai Wosner); Piano Trio in B-flat main Op.11, ‘Gassenhauer’; Piano Trio in D main Op.70 No.1, ‘Ghost’
The just about sold-out home for the newest providing in Symphony Middle’s Chamber Music sequence introduced Chicago audiences three Beethoven works, carried out impeccably by Emanuel Ax, Leonidas Kavakos and Yo-Yo Ma. With such expert performers, the music-making was unquestionably spectacular, and the sensitivity to the opposite musician’s components was evident within the persuasive model they delivered to all three items.
This system opened with a model of Beethoven’s Symphony No.6 for piano trio, in an association by Shai Wosner, an award-winning pianist who studied with Emanuel Ax. Based mostly on an thought by Ax (per Wosner’s program notes), this model of the ‘Pastoral’ takes its cue from Beethoven’s personal association of his Symphony No.2 for a similar grouping. Whereas among the causes that composers like Beethoven pursued chamber-music variations of large-scale items might not have relevance within the twenty-first century, the benefit of Wosner’s effort is that it brings out the musical concepts throughout the work.
From the primary notes of the opening, the ensemble made a powerful impression. This was no slavish imitation of the orchestral rating: the important traces emerged readily and guided the viewers by the composer’s concepts. This was notably evident within the second motion, which might stand alone as a bit for piano trio. In varied locations the spare timbres of the chamber ensemble made the music much more spectacular, as with the cello within the opening of the ‘Shepherd’s Music’ within the closing Scherzo. This was a tour-de-force motion for the ensemble, with the three gamers working as one to precise the music with grace and aplomb.
After the intermission, this system continued with two works that Beethoven composed expressly for a trio, the Piano Trio in B-flat main (‘Gassenhauer’) and the Piano Trio in D main (‘Ghost’). Within the ‘Gassenhauer’, which spun out like clockwork, the primary motion evinced a way of spontaneity. It sounded as if every musician knew the others’ components in addition to their very own: the truth is, the latter high quality is important within the sluggish motion, the place line and continuity outline the model of the efficiency. The theme and variations that conclude the work captured the viewers’s creativeness, and all paid rapt consideration. Ax at instances stretched bar traces, virtually giving a way of rubato to some sections, and this added to the exceptional interaction among the many three performers.
The virtuosic method utilized by the trio within the closing work, the ‘Ghost’, was persuasive. If the primary motion was barely quicker than some teams take it, the tempos have been efficient in conveying the construction. This arrange the distinction within the second, which had a sure languid high quality that set it aside. Right here the concepts Beethoven had for the setting of Shakespeare’s Macbeth are on the core of an atmospheric sluggish motion, and the sense of tone and timbre heightened the interpretation of this acquainted piece. The ultimate Presto was deft and warranted, with the joyful and assured temper related to it evident within the facial expressions and physique language of the distinctive trio behind this night of excellent chamber music. It was probably the most memorable current performances at Symphony Middle and, maybe, within the metropolis itself.
James L. Zychowicz