Phillip Bush, piano
Arnaud Sussmann, violin
David Harding, viola
Edward Arron, cello
Beethoven: String Trio in c minor, Opus 9, No. 3
William Bolcom: Graceful Ghost Rag for Solo Piano
Pierre Jalbert: Piano Trio (1998)
Chausson: Piano Quartet in A Major, Opus 30
Notes on the Program:
Beethoven wrote his String Trio in c minor in 1797, very early in his career. This remarkable piece reveals his unmistakable personality and hints at what will follow in his later works. Beethoven used the key of c minor to express intense feelings and this piece does just that by taking a few very simple themes and developing them into a rich and complex work of passion and beauty.
William Bolcom is a versatile composer whose compositions range from popular songs for voice and piano to epic choral works and operas. His Graceful Ghost Rag is the first in a set of three rags dedicated to his late father, and is perhaps his best known work. It is a slow rag, sweet and a bit melancholy.
American composer Pierre Jalbert wrote his piano trio in 1998. It consists of two movements of extremely contrasting character. The first movement, “Life Cycle”, is based on the pulse of a rapidly beating heart. It was written after Jalbert heard his son’s heartbeat for the first time, a few months into his wife’s pregnancy, and was surprised by how rapid it was. The second movement, “Agnes Dei”, is mysterious and lyrical in character. It is modeled on the three part form of the “Agnes Dei” prayer. Mother Theresa died while Jalbert was composing this section, so he dedicated this movement to her.
French composer Ernest Chausson studied with Cesar Franck, and his music is considered the link between that of Franck and Claude Debussy. Written in 1897, his Piano Quartet in A Major is light and sublimely beautiful- similar to the piano quartets of Gabriel Faure in its shimmering impressionism.