In this the centenary of the composer's birth, England's superlative Florestan Trio has programmed the Shostakovich Trio as the linchpin of its current tour. At the Florestan's recital in Rackham Auditorium on Thursday, October 19, it will be preceded by Mozart's G Major Piano Trio and Saint-Sans's E Minor Piano Trio. In a recent interview, Susan Tomes, the Florestan's pianist, says that while she's "very fond" of Mozart's Trio, especially its "particularly beautiful" slow movement, and that Saint-Sans's Trio "is a late work and a very grand one," the power of Shostakovich's Trio took her by surprise.
"I didn't want to learn it for a long time, because the piano part isn't tremendously interesting to play," Tomes says. "However, when we finally did learn it, I was taken aback at the audience's response to it." Describing it as "a bleak and harrowing work which contrasts great sadness with episodes of demonic energy," Tomes says Shostakovich's Trio "doesn't look much on the page but has an emotional impact out of all proportion to its sparsely written notes." Indeed it does — as anyone who attends the Florestan Trio's concert will find out. Remember your handkerchiefs.
[Review published October 2006]