May 10, 2010 - 19.30
Chapel Royal - North Street
with Zoe Rogers Clarinet
Mikhail Glinka 1804 - 1857
Allegro Moderato, Scherzo and Trio, Largo, Allegro con Spirito
"I remember during the performance of this piece the plaster benumbed my arms and legs to such a degree that I had to pinch myself to see if there were still life in them. But I was still struggling somehow with my miseries and discomforts and wrote a trio for piano, clarinet and bassoon"
After the death of his brother Glinka was kept in a warm room and thoroughly spoilt by his Grandma, so it will come as no surprise to hear that Glinka became a hypochondriac. Add to that a rumored affair and the failure of the above mentioned cure for a perceived malady in Milan and you have the some what depressing back drop to this remarkable piece.
Composed in 1832 for Clarinet, Bassoon and Piano, although it is sometimes performed with Violin, Cello and Piano, the piece was composed before Glinka had any formal training in composition. This may explain oddities of the pieces form, particularly in the last two movements where good thematic material is not developed and consequently the endings are somewhat abrupt.
That said the piece is a melodic masterpiece offsetting expressive lyrical phrases in the clarinet and bassoon against a very busy, virtuosic piano.
Heitor Villa-Lobos 1887 - 1959
Allegro Non Troppo, Lento,
Brazil's most famous composer and notoriously prolific, with over 2000 works to his credit, the Fantaisie Concertante was composed in 1953. As Villa-Lobos was notorious for exageration and as many of his later works are revisions and arrangements of earlier ones this figure needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. His accounts of his travels and encounters with Indians whilst collecting ethnic music in his youth are also prone to exageration.
Although we associate Villa-Lobos's music with the folk influence from his travels in his early years, this work is more a development of the modern romantic style.
Trio in G Minor
William Hurlstone 1876-1906
Andante Maestoso/ Allegro Vivace, Andante, Scherzo (recently published), Allegro Moderato
William Hurlstone caught a chill at Victoria Station in May 1906 and died a week later. This is a great loss to English music as Hurlstone was considered, by his teacher Charles Standford, to be the greatest composing talent of his generation. All the remarkable when you consider that his contemporaries included, Vaughn Williams and Gustav Holst amongst others. He left a small catelogue of mainly chamber music and his untimely death means that he is not on the radar and his piano concerto, one of the best of this genre, is rarely performed.
Hurlstone's health was not good enough for him to be a concert pianist, he had a reputation for being a phenomenal sight reader, and he was made Professor of Counterpoint at the Royal College of Music in 1905, a position normally reserved for much older professors, as an aknowledgement for a lifetimes work in music.
Hurlstone enjoyed playing the clarinet and consequently had an understanding of wind instruments that make his wind writing a joy to play and hear. Certainly the musicians who played his chamber music, with Hurlstone at the piano, were amongst the best in London at the time.
The Trio was composed in 1896/7 in a year when Hurlstone widened his scope to orchestral coposition. The Variations for Orchestra on an Original Theme, Variations for Orchestra on a Hungarian Theme and the Piano Concerto in D Major and a first performance of his Quintet for Piano and Wind in G minor all did their bit to push the trio to one side. With no performance in Hurlstone's lifetime it has been left to musicologists to put the work together.
The version you will hear includes the missing Scherzo with the outer movements reversed.