Washington University's Eliot Trio to Perform Haydn and Tchaikovsky 4/10

Love and death: the most primal of motivations.

At 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 10, Washington University's Eliot Trio will perform a pair of works by Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-93) - works composed, respectively, to honor a doomed romance and a departed friend.

The Eliot Trio, named for university founder William Greenleaf Eliot, consists of Seth Carlin, professor of music and director of the piano program in the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences; violinist David Halen, concertmaster for the St. Louis Symphony; and cellist Bjorn Ranheim, also with the St. Louis Symphony.

Dedicated to performing masterworks of the piano trio literature, the group typically presents one concert each year.

The April 10 program will open with Haydn's Trio in D major, Hob.XV:24. Written in 1795, during the composer's second visit to London, the piece was the first of three Haydn dedicated to Rebecca Schroeter, a wealthy English widow to whom he gave piano lessons.

Though Haydn was married at the time, the pair commenced a passionate correspondence, with Haydn keeping Schoeter's letters (many of which still survive) well into old age. Indeed, he later admitted to a biographer that Schroeter was, "a beautiful and loveable woman, whom I would very readily have married if I had been free then."

Comprising three movements, the Trio in D major is notable for its use of doubling and for its unexpected changes in key. The opening movement, Allegro, is filled with sudden stops and starts as well as bursts of energy suggesting a mood of nervous joy. The brief second movement, Andante, in D minor, is built from restless dotted rhythms and leads without break into the final movement, Allegro, ma dolce.

The remainder of the program will be dedicated to Tchaikovsky's brooding Trio in A Minor, op. 50, the composer's only work for piano and strings. Written in 1881-82, the piece is subtitled "In memory of a great artist" and honors the pianist Nikolai Rubenstein, Tchaikovsky's friend and mentor, who died the previous spring.

Trio in A Minor - which will be performed in its entirety - includes two movements, beginning with the melancholy Pezzo elegiaco ("Elegiac Piece"). The second movement - perhaps the composer's most technically difficult work for piano - features an extended set of 11 variations on a simple, folk-like theme that was supposedly inspired by a day Tchaikovsky and Rubenstein spent in the country. These build to a jubilant, almost manic finale that abruptly returns to the melancholy opening theme before at last yielding to a mournful funeral march.

Tickets are $20, or $10 for seniors and Washington University faculty and staff, and $5 for students.

The performance will take place in Washington University's Holmes Lounge, located in Ridgley Hall, on the far side of Brookings Quadrangle, near the intersection of Hoyt and Brookings drives.

Tickets are available through the Edison Theater Box Office, (314) 935-6543, and all Metrotix outlets.

For more information, call (314) 935-5566 or email kschultz@artsci.wustl.edu.


Carlin has performed as soloist with orchestras around the world and with conductors such as Roger Norrington, Nicholas McGegan and Leonard Slatkin. In the past several years he has performed Beethoven's "Triple" Concerto with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and appeared as soloist with the San Francisco Philharmonia Baroque, the period-instrument orchestra. He has played on French, Swedish, Chinese and German national television and radio and in recent years has given concerts in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and England. In 1992-1993 he performed the cycle of Schubert's complete keyboard sonatas on fortepiano in both St. Louis and New York.

Halen - a 2002 recipient of the Saint Louis Arts and Entertainment award for excellence - has been with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra since 1991 and was appointed concertmaster in 1995. He frequently appears as a soloist, both with the symphony orchestra and in performance around the country, and often teams with Carlin for local chamber concerts. As co-founder and artistic director of the Innsbrook Institute, at Innsbrook, MO, Halen also coordinates a weeklong summer festival of chamber music performance and training for aspiring artists. He plays a violin made by Johannes Baptiste Guadagnini in Milan in 1753.

Ranheim joined the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra in 2005 and also holds the principal chair of the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder. He previously served as associate principal cello of the Fort Worth Symphony and has performed and toured with the orchestras of Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit and Baltimore. He also has served as principal and assistant principal cello with the New World Symphony, the National Repertory Orchestra, the Aspen Festival Orchestra and Quebec City's critically acclaimed Le Violons du Roy. A committed advocate of contemporary music, Ranheim also has performed world-premiere works by Stephen Paulus, Paul Schoenfield and Steven Heitzig.

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