Trioz – poetic justice

Tonight I thought to go to hear “Trioz” (a piano trio convened by pianist Kathryin Selby) at Angel Place. The program was enticing:

Elena Kats-Chernin – The Maiden and the Well Spirit (2004)
Ludwig v. Beethoven – Piano Trio in B flat, Op.97, ‘Archduke’
Sergei Rachmaninov – Piano Trio No.2 in D minor, Op.9, ‘Elégiaque’

Mostly it was the Rhachmaninov I was attracted by.

Unfortunately, I left my run a little late.  Tickets are only sold for the first level (the stalls), and all at the one price, of $60, which is a little steep for me for an impulse purchase.  Faced with an entirely unsatisfactory range of seats (at the edge or at the back), I turned back. 

Not really an entirely rational decision, given that last night I paid $25 for a performance of Love for Love which I probably had considerably less desire to see than I did to hear this.  It was probably a question of expectations.  What I wanted to do tonight was to bowl up and sit up high in a cheap seat – for the first half, at least.

The moral?  Book earlier, or wait until some more success leads to cheaper seats being available once they are sold for the balconies.

So now I’m back at the office. Once I would have returned to sneak in at interval, but perhaps I’m getting too old for that…

Or so I thought

I confess, I returned. A regular concert attendee with whom I have a nodding acquaintance (he goes to everything – he is the large man with the Karl Marx beard, for those of you who may know him) pointed out to me a suitable empty seat, and I made myself comfortable. Kathryn Selby stood up to give one of those speeches which, in general and on principle, I rather loathe. It was all about the program underlying the Shostakovich Trio.

Trapped! My neighbour confirmed that the program (not that this would have been shown to me before I’d bought a ticket, if I had bought one) announced that the Shostakovich had been substituted for the Rhachmaninov because KS had injured her hand 2 (or so) weeks ago.

The little talk confirmed all my prejudices about such talks. We learnt that the trio was written in 1943 when the Russians were beginning to learn about the sufferings in the concentration camps (things were a bit vague here about which concentration camps we were talking about). There was a lot of stuff in the vein of “This bit might represent when the people had to dig there own graves before they were shot and fell into them” (about the second movement) and “We talked about it, and we agreed that this passage could represent the wind whistling over the graves.” (maybe the opening of the first movement). I’m not sure if Shostakovich knew about that digging-your-own-grave stuff. This sort of thing puts the performer in an awkward position since, as KS herself recognized, it is difficult to then commend the music to the audience’s enjoyment.

The performance was OK, if overshadowed by the heavy-handed programism, to which I didn’t really feel it lived up. Maybe I was still yearning for the Rhachmaninov; I’ve heard better renditions of the Shostakovich, or at least been more in the mood for it.

There was not a whisper of this program change on the website or on the posters on display at the venue. Still, in the circumstances I wasn’t really in a position to ask for my money back. The most I could really have done was to have walked out. That would have been too conspicuous, even for me.

One Response to “Trioz – poetic justice”

  1. Club Troppo » Missing Link Daily Says:

    […] who talk and length when they should be playing, and even more peeved that the Rach racked off in favour of a Shosta because the pianist had a sore […]

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