Trio Solisti

Maria Bachmann, violin
Alexis Pia Gerlach, cello
Jon Klibonoff, piano

Sunday, August 12, 2012, 3 pm and 4 pm


3 pm Prelude Concert — Jon Klibonoff, piano

Four Preludes from Book 1 (1907-10)
Claude Debussy (1862-1918)

La fille aux cheveux de lin (The Girl with Flaxen Hair)
Très calme et doucement expressif

Voiles (Sails, or Veils) Modéré

Les collines d’Anacapri (The Hills of Anacapri) Très modéré

La serenade interrompue (The Interrupted Serenade) Modérément animé

Images, Book I (1904-5)

Reflets dans l’eau (Reflections in the Water)
Hommage à Rameau (Homage to Rameau)
Mouvement (Movement)

intermission I

4 pm Main Concert — Trio Solisti

Piano Trio in G Minor, Op. 3 (1881)
Ernest Chausson (1855-1899)

Pas trop lent – Animé
Assez lent

Sonata for Violin and Piano (2008)
Philip Glass (b. 1937)

1) Quarter note = 120
2) Quarter note = 72
3) Quarter note= 116

intermission II

4’ 33”
John Cage (1912-1992)

Piano Trio in A Minor (1914)
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

Pantoum (Assez vif)
Final (Animé)

next week

Saturday, August 18, 6:30 pm | Jazz at the Maverick

Ebène Quartet

Sunday, August 19, 4 pm | Ebène Quartet

Music of Mozart, Fauré, and Tchaikovsky




Program Notes © 2012 by Miriam Villchur Berg*


Jon Klibonoff, piano, has performed as guest artist with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Shanghai, Miami, and Lark String Quartets. For three seasons he was artist-in-residence for the On Air radio series produced by WQXR. Mr. Klibonoff has been heard in recital at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the 92nd Street Y, the National Gallery, and the Smithsonian. He has collaborated with flutist Carol Wincenc, clarinetist David Shifrin, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. His orchestral engagements include the Baltimore, Utah, Buffalo, Denver, and North Carolina Symphonies. A graduate of Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music, Mr. Klibonoff is on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music.

Celebrating their tenth Anniversary in the 2011-2012 season, Trio Solisti has been hailed “The most exciting piano trio in America” by The New Yorker magazine. Trio Solisti is comprised of three brilliant instrumentalists—violinist Maria Bachmann, cellist Alexis Pia Gerlach, and pianist Jon Klibonoff. Performing a broad spectrum of styles, their versatility extends to new music, with commissions and world premieres of works by Paul Moravec, Lowell Liebermann, and Philip Glass.

In 2012 the trio will be premiering a commissioned work by Pulitzer Prize winner Kevin Puts of works inspired by visual artist Bill Viola, and in 2013 they will perform a new work by Lowell Liebermann commissioned for them by the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music.

The trio has performed at The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center’s Great Performers Series, Town Hall’s Peoples’ Symphony Concerts, the Wolf Trap Center, and the Tuscan Sun Festival in Cortona, Italy. They have performed as guests of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, at Seattle’s Meany Hall, La Jolla’s Revelle series, Milwaukee Symphony’s Pabst Series, and Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, and have toured in Canada.

Trio Solisti performs at many festivals both as a trio and as individual guest artists, including Bravo! Vail, Caramoor, Maverick Concerts, Skaneateles, Philip Glass’ Days and Nights Festival in Carmel, the Laguna Beach Festival, Amelia Island Festival, Sanibel Island Festival, the Moab Festival in Utah, and the Cape Cod Festival.

The Trio is the founding ensemble of Telluride MusicFest in Telluride, CO, an annual chamber music festival which celebrates its tenth season in 2012. They perform there with guest artists and have had both Philip Glass and Paul Moravec in residence.

Trio Solisti’s members frequently perform with orchestras. In 2010, Mr. Klibonoff performed with the Virginia Symphony and the Buffalo Philharmonic. Ms. Bachmann performed Philip Glass’s Double Concerto with the Orchestra of the Hague, the world premiere of Paul Moravec’s Violin Concerto at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, PA, and John Corigliano’s Red Violin Concerto at Chicago’s Millenium Park.

Trio Solisti has appeared on the nationally broadcast radio show St. Paul Sunday and has been featured on NPR’s Performance Today in numerous live performances from around the US. They have been presented in multi-concert series at the Morgan Library in New York and by the St. Louis Museum of Art.





This program continues Maverick Music Director Alexander Platt’s season-long celebration of French music. Debussy wrote his Preludes, Book I in part as an homage to Chopin’s Preludes, which had done so much to free the genre from its narrow musical conventions. La fille aux cheveux de lin (The Girl with Flaxen Hair) is the most well-known of these preludes, and makes extensive use of the pentatonic scale. Voiles (Sails, or Veils) has an irregular dotted rhythm and a spare sound in whole-tone scales. Les collines d’Anacapri (The Hills of Anacapri) is like an Italian folk song, ending in the highest reaches of the piano. La sérénade interrompue (The Interrupted Serenade) adds a touch of humor to the work, portraying a serenader with a guitar constantly being interrupted by various noisy elements.

In Images, Book One, Debussy paints three pictures with sound. Reflets dans l’eau (Reflections in the Water) depicts the shimmering surface of a pond, with occasional disturbances. Rameau was for many French composers a symbol of a golden age of French music. Debussy borrows a theme from Rameau’s Castor and Pollux for the slow, stately Sarabande in his Hommage à Rameau. Mouvement is the abstract piece in the triptych. Debussy sets up a moto perpetuo accompaniment, with a rhythmic descending motif superimposed, first in the treble and then in the bass.

Ernest Chausson grew up in a well-to-do Parisian family, studying writing, music, and art privately. His family connections allowed him entrance into the Parisian salons where he met Odilon Redon, Vincent d’Indy, and other luminaries. His own home became a famous salon where the finest musicians, as well as painters such as Edouard Manet and writers such as Stéphane Mallarmé, gathered. His life and compositional career were cut short by a tragic bicycling accident at the age of forty-four.

The Piano Trio in G Minor, Op. 3 was written immediately after Chausson left the Conservatoire. In the opening Allegro ma non troppo, the piano provides a restless underpinning to the strings as they trade motivic phrases in a dark, intense minor mode. In the short scherzo (Allegro grazioso), fast piano motion is contrasted with single, slow supporting notes on the strings. The cheerier key of B flat major and the galloping dotted 3/8 meter provide relief from the previous movement’s introspection.

The Poco adagio begins in D minor, although, as befits a student of César Franck, Chausson displays his penchant for frequent modulation. Textures are important here, with a solo piano, soon joined by the cello in a plaintive aria, building to a full sound as the violin takes over the song. Changes of dynamics and intensity are frequent and abrupt.

The Finale (Allegro con brio) continues the sharp contrasts of fast and slow, major and minor, lively and intense. A dancing waltz in G major begins the movement, recalling the theme of the opening Allegro (cyclic structure—another Franckism). The final ending is a grand rising piano run followed by the single note G on all three instruments.

Alexander Platt’s second theme for the season is the music of Philip Glass, who celebrates his seventy-fifth birthday this year. Philip Glass’s musical education and mentorage were both traditional and avant-garde—Juilliard, Darius Milhaud, Nadia Boulanger, and Ravi Shankar. Critics were slow to consider his work serious music, but the public got his message from the start, and his many operas, symphonies, concerti, and multi-media compositions continue to play to sold out halls around the globe. He is widely acknowledged for having brought art music to the public.

Glass’s Sonata for Violin and Piano was commissioned for Maria Bachmann and Jon Klibonoff by retired architect Martin Murray to commemorate the seventieth birthday of his wife, Lucy Miller Murray. Lucy founded and directed the Market Square Concert series in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for twenty-seven years. The Sonata is in three movements (a song-like slow movement framed by two faster movements) with specific metronome speeds rather than tempo markings.

In August 1952, sixty years ago, the Maverick Concert Hall was the scene of a revolutionary moment in musical history. Here in the woods, pianist David Tudor performed the premiere of John Cage’s most famous—and most infamous—work, 4’33” (Four Minutes and Thirty-Three Seconds). Although the work has often been called the “silent” piece, Cage wanted to show that a lack of notes was not the same thing as silence. The pianist read the score, turned pages, and closed the piano lid after each “movement,” but he never touched a single key.

In explaining his thought processes, Cage later wrote: “Silence is not acoustic. It is a change of mind, a turning around. I devoted my music to it. My work became an exploration of non-intention.” Cage wanted his audience to listen to the sounds around them and even to the sounds inside their bodies, and to realize that what we hear is what we choose to hear. This pivotal performance at Maverick expanded the boundaries of music forever. This is the one-hundredth anniversary of Cage’s birth and the twentieth anniversary of his death.

Maurice Ravel managed to finish his Piano Trio in A Minor in 1914, right before entering the army and serving as a driver in the Great War. The first movement (Modéré) has echoes of Basque folk music (Ravel’s mother was Basque, and he wrote this Trio while summering in the Basque region.) The first theme, offered by the piano, is wistful at the start, and then dramatically emphatic.

The second movement is a Scherzo that bears the title Pantoum (Assez vif—fairly lively). The Pantoum was an adaptation of a Malaysian verse form using interwoven lines (ABCD/BEDF, etc.). Ravel applies the form to musical lines, varying the texture and instrumentation of the choppy staccato phrases to create a unified whole.

The third movement uses the Passacaille (Passacaglia), a Baroque form of bass theme and variations. After the piano presents the theme, each subsequent variation raises its pitch range and thickens its instrumental texture. With the climactic seventh variation, the music’s complexity, pitch, and volume start to diminish, until only the piano is playing.

The Final (Animé) begins without a pause, turning the theme of the first movement upside down (inversion). Its treatment this time is more sophisticated. The virtuoso writing continues to a spectacular finish.

All program notes are copyright Miriam Villchur Berg. It is permissible to quote short excerpts for reviews. For permission to quote more extensive portions, or to copy,  publish, or make other use of these program notes, please contact her at Program Notes © 2012 by Miriam Villchur Berg