I caught a performance of three piano trios yesterday afternoon, Beethoven’s Op. 1 no. 2, Shostakovich’s No. 2 in E minor, and Schumann’s No. 2 in F major.
The highlight of the program (for me, anyway) was the Shostakovich. After the energetic playing of the Aeolus Quartet last week, this trio sounded more restrained; I was worried at the start of the Shostakovich that it was going to be more genteel a performance than I like. (The last one I heard live was the Claremont Trio either May 2014 or the previous May – it is sad that I cannot remember when that was – and it was pretty great; not genteel in the slightest.) This apprehension of mine continued into the second movement, but by the end of that, it was sounding a little more wild and crazy and Shostakovich-like. The best part, though, was the final movement. The pianist used the (what is it called – sustaining pedal? the one that holds the note) early in the movement, and the tempo was slower than I am used to, so that the notes of the piano part rang and lingered in one’s head; it was very distinctive. Very soon I was in total immersion mode. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed the finale of that piece quite as much – that feeling of being physically pressed by the music, such that you don’t want it to end. I never realized how much was in that last movement before.
This led to a sort of Shostakovich finale holdover effect for the Schumann trio, the last item on the program. I was feeling very relaxed and happy and cheerful, and my attention hadn’t waned a bit – I have pretty much no memory of the Schumann, but I do recall enjoying it as it was happening. (I remember reading Edith Wharton saying once that whenever she had a really good conversation, she could never remember any of it afterward – I suspect it was a similar kind of thing.)
And I have taken a gamble. I know that I will have jury duty sometime in the latter end of August. Nevertheless, I have tickets for two concerts during that time. I am betting that 1) I will not get picked to be on a jury or 2) operations will end soon enough each day that I can get from the Queens courthouse to Alice Tully in time.