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From the Library – THIS FRIDAY (4/16/21): A Music Dialogue with the Eastman School of Music’s Trio Cerchio

Instead of a live concert, this year’s visiting ensemble from the Eastman School of Music will be sharing a video of their performance, and then chatting with us (via Zoom) about their performance during A Music Dialogue with the Eastman School of Music’s Trio Cerchio on Friday, April 16, at 10:00 AM.

Trio Cerchio is a dynamic new piano trio consisting of members Chihiro Kakishima (violin), Jennifer Carpenter (cello), and I-Hsiang Chao (piano). The ensemble was formed at the Eastman School of Music in Fall 2020, and they are committed to creating new “cerchi” — circles — for classical music through inclusive programming and community engagement.

Please click on the “Read More” link to view the video of Trio Cerchio’s performance. A Listening Guide is also provided.

If you’d like to attend this program, please register now through our Online Calendar You will receive the Zoom login information before the program.



Trio Cerchio: Listening Guide

About the Composers and Pieces
Robert Schumann: Piano Trio No. 3 in G minor, op.110 (1851) II. Ziemlich langsam (pretty slow)
Robert Schumann was a composer who lived during the1800’s, and he wrote this particular piece in 1851, near the end of his life, which was a time of significant inner turmoil. One thing we find fascinating about studying the life story and music of Schumann is how he turned his inner struggles with mental illness and artistic frustration into the incredible beauty we hear in his music. Even in the gorgeous melody in the beginning of this movement there is an element of underlying tension, which eventually erupts and takes over in the faster, tumultuous middle section. So in a way, to us, this movement is a reflection of and a snapshot of Schumann’s state of mind during that time in his life.

Activity: Can you hear the interactions between the violin, cello, and piano? Did you enjoy this piece? Why or why not?

Tōru Takemitsu: Between Tides (1993)
Tōru Takemitsu was the most prominent figure in contemporary Japanese classical music. Embittered by the experiences during the Pacific War and the militarist dictatorship, he sought to distance himself from his traditional aesthetic heritage which he underwent tremendous pains reconciling. The result is that of deep fascination with the ephemerality of sound, unmistakably interwoven with the colorful, prismic harmonies of French music (elaborate).That sound, hitherto restricted to a secondary role in ritual and spiritual practice, is liberated by the philosophies of “chance” and “relativity,” was of major artistic and personal significance for Takemitsu: he was able to sing more freely, in spite of the inner crises caused by the ravaged political landscape.

Activity: This piece focuses on gestures. Pick outany sounds you find interesting, and note how you react to it. Does it remind you of something? A place? An image?

Dmitri Shostakovich: Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor,op. 67 (1944)IV. Allegretto (fairly briskly)
Dimitri Shostakovich was one of the most internationally renowned composers to emerge from the Soviet era. His tremendous artistic gift and his sense of responsibility toward Russian culture led him, ironically, to a tragic fate of being driven to near maniac insanity in the midst of a cleansing of intellectuals in the 30s. Such an existential threat, however, did not sunder his keen affinity with literature and other cultures, as he continued to develop a body of rich, diverse references through his music, speaking for a faith in humanity whose convictions are expressed most completely in culture. Although an extraordinarily noble character, he was not averse to the less-than-sober elements in the panorama of Russian emotionality; his music is able to delve into the dreary existential conditions, glimmering with an unnerving self-deprecation and an almost religious regard for irony, and on top of all blazing with such a determination as, in his own words, “I shall go on writing music even if they cut off both my hands and I have to hold the pen in my teeth.” Being so aware, Shostakovich had barely enjoyed peace, as he tirelessly pursued his ideals in music and in the arts. Shostakovich’s music is full of tributes, both to the present and to the past, to his fellow musicians and to his kindred spirits from centuriesago.

(A potentially useful reference: Part IV, Chapter 15)

Activity: How does Shostakovich portray his struggles differently compared to Schumann or Takemitsu?

Terminology
— cerchio (Italian): circle
— composer: person who writes music
— movement: one part of a longer musical piece, analogousto a chapter in aliterary work
— op.: opus, or the number given to a musical work uponpublication, roughlyindicative of the chronology of a composer’s workspiano
— trio: a musical ensemble of three players, usuallycontaining theinstruments violin, cello, and piano

About the Trio
Trio Cerchio is a dynamic new piano trio consisting of members Chihiro Kakishima (violin), Jennifer Carpenter (cello), and I-Hsiang Chao (piano). Holding degrees from Eastman School of Music, The Juilliard School, University of Michigan, and Oberlin Conservatory, Trio Cerchio was formed at the Eastman School of Music in Fall 2020. The trio is committed to creating new “cerchi” — circles — for classical music through inclusive programming and community engagement.

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