Shostakovich Piano Trio No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 67
Beethoven Piano Trio in B-Flat Major, Op. 97 “Archduke”
The Priday/Kloeckner/Armstrong Trio is delighted to present two riveting, contrasting masterpieces side by side. First, the monumental Shostakovich Piano Trio No. 2 (1944) thrusts listeners into a bleak, war-ravaged sound-world. Shostakovich’s unmistakable voice articulates a grand vision of wide-ranging emotional depth and power: exhilarating, bitingly satirical, terrifying, heartfelt, haunting, grotesque. Manic contrasts prevail, from the hushed cello lament that begins the first movement and the somber elegy that unfolds, to the frenzied waltz-like scherzo second movement, to the Largo third movement that circles around a passacaglia like broken spirits among ruins. In the final “danse macabre” movement, themes from the first three movements re-appear, while suggestions of Jewish klezmer folk themes emerge as a tribute to the victims of the Holocaust. Following a period of silence, Beethoven’s “Archduke” Piano Trio, Op. 97, provides a way forward after Shostakovich’s total vision of destruction. It is, like its name, noble in character: graciously lyrical, beneficent and sublimely beautiful. Its singing melodies and gentle dance rhythms offer genuine warmth, geniality, and humor in this crowning achievement for the genre.