Due to an oversight, I neglected to mention the Mimir Chamber Music Festival in this week’s print edition, so I’m here on Blotch to redress that. The festival starts on Thursday and runs through the 13th at TCU’s PepsiCo Recital Hall. The opening concert is an all-Beethoven recital with two lyrical early works (the Op. 16 piano quartet and his Third String Quartet) juxtaposed with his second “Razumovsky” quartet. Rather than go over those much-discussed works, I thought I’d give notes on the lesser-known repertoire in the other concerts:
Saturday the 7th features Brahms’ sturdy and noble Trio for Violin, Horn, and Piano, an impressively smooth piece of workmanship given how brass instruments tend to clash with piano or strings (if aren’t woodwinds to even out their sound). There’s also Joan Tower’s 1994 string quartet Night Fields, which she had so much trouble composing that she thought about calling the piece Nightmare. In a program note, she described it as “a cold windy night in a wheat field lit up by a bright full moon, with waves of fast moving colors rolling over the fields.”
The recital on Sunday the 8th has Georges Enescu’s weird and shimmering little Sonata for Violin and Piano. The piece has a character all its own, probably stemming from the composer’s Romanian heritage, which figured heavily in his music. The centerpiece is Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio subtitled “In Memory of a Great Artist.” That refers to the composer’s mentor Nikolai Rubinstein, whose death inspired the piece. The opening and closing sections are as anguished as you’d expect, but in the middle are a second movement structured as a theme and variations with a melting lullaby theme played by the piano. The vigorous third movement could have ended the piece on a triumphant note, but Tchaikovsky goes for the despair instead.