Continuing its long tradition of connecting music on the campus to the theme of the annual Nobel Conference, the Department of Music at Gustavus Adolphus College is pleased to present a faculty trio and the music of Johannes Brahms and Dmitri Shostakovich in the 2013 Nobel Conference Concert, “Dark Energy.” The faculty piano trio of violinist Jill Olson Moser, cellist Sharon Mautner-Rodgers and pianist Yumiko Oshima-Ryan will present the concert in Christ Chapel on Tuesday, October 1, beginning at 8:15 p.m. The Nobel Conference Concert “Dark Energy” is free and open to the public.
In her introduction to the program, pianist Yumiko Oshima-Ryan wrote of her interest in creating a program to perform in conjunction with the conference theme of “The Universe at its Limit.” “That is something that musicians can play with! Music too has its inner and outer energies. Happiness, sadness, anger, fear, all there……What are the mysterious forces that hold it all together? Performing together we participate in some kind of invisible and mysterious energy field and share it with everyone in the room. For a moment, we are no longer isolated particles, but held together, connected as one. The ‘dark energies’ we present are pieces full of passionate complexity — a powerful compassion rising out of anger and sadness.”
The trio will open the performance with the 4-movement Piano Trio in C minor, Op. 101 by Johannes Brahms. The last of three trios written by Brahms in 1886, Op. 101 is the most vigorous of the three and is full of dark passion, beginning with a powerful living energy in movement 1, then a mysterious energetic mood in 2, followed by wild forces in 3 before the final movement transforms from darkness into hopeful light.
The second half of the concert will feature the Piano Trio in E minor, Op. 67, written by Dmitri Shostakovich in 1944 while mourning the death of his close friend Ivan Sollertinsky and the victims of the Holocaust. Opening with a haunting cello solo, Shostakovich portrays the darkness of his grief with con sordino, or muted strings, in the cello and violin parts. The work continues with a sarcastic waltz melody in movement 2 followed by a solemn Jewish prayer theme in the third movement, and moves immediately to a pounding forte of dissonance with the power of a destructive force before returning to the melancholy theme of the Jewish prayer. The final movement ends, writes Oshima-Ryan, “bringing not beauty but genuine, painful understanding. Inside the silence after the last note, the dark energy waits for you — the place where we become ONE with the universe.”
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