Best of Together Again: Episode 2

Wednesday, September 1, 2021
WCLV 104.9 FM – Cleveland Ovations


ANTONIN DVOŘÁK – Legends (arr. Shai Wosner)
Performed June 9, 2021

5 of the 10 Legends that Shai transcribed/performed were:
Allegretto non troppo, quasi andantino (D minor)
Molto moderato (G major)
Allegro giusto (G minor)
Un poco allegretto (F major)
Andante (B-flat minor)

Franklin Cohen, clarinet
Dimitri Murrath, viola
Shai Wosner, piano

FRANZ SCHUBERT – Trio No. 2 in E-flat major D. 929
Performed June 9, 2021

Itamar Zorman, violin
Zlatomir Fung, cello
Shai Wosner, piano

Thoughts About the Music

Dvořák – Legends (Arr. Shai Wosner)

I have always loved the Legends, which are some of Dvořák’s most spontaneous and disarming pieces. During the pandemic, as I missed so much playing with other people, I decided to enjoy this music by reworking it into a combination of instruments that I particularly like: clarinet, viola and piano. It is quite the guilty pleasure, as if you step into the composer’s workshop and look at the music from a new angle. In the case of Dvořák’s Legends – originally written for piano 4-hand as well as for orchestra – that angle highlights this music’s inherent chamber music feel, its fleeting dialogues and disarming earnestness and intimacy. – Shai Wosner

Franz Schubert – Trio No. 2 in E-flat major D. 929

In a detailed 1894 article, Dvorak expressed his debt to Schubert, writing “His chamber music, especially his string quartets and trios, must be ranked among the very best of their kind in all musical literature”. Indeed, Schubert weaves a complex and emotional tonal atmosphere, ranging from spontaneous passion to tranquil contemplation. Schubert came late to the trio form, only writing two near the end of his life. His Trio No. 2 in Eb major was completed on January 28th, 1828, and premiered shortly after on March 26th, exactly 365 days after the death of Beethoven. The Trio No. 2 is a perfect showcasing of each instrument in equality with one another. It begins with a strikingly sporadic first movement. The violent, impulsive nature of this movement evades strict formal analysis, with musicologists counting as many as 6 major themes (as opposed to the traditional 2 themes) in the exposition of the first movement. The cello leads the way through the first section with its swaying melody. Then, the piano offers a delicate contrast of soft rushing melodies and bubbling harmonies. The music intensifies with lurching dance-like rhythms, leading the listener into a stormy atmosphere. Here, Schubert explores keys far and wide as major sonorities are consistently overcome by minor keys. The melodies seem to float along as they interact with one another, as if being carried by the wind. The second movement’s opening is readily recognizable as it has become a statement theme in pop culture and film, most famously in Stanely Kubrick’s movie Barry Lyndon. Evoking the feeling of a funeral procession, Schubert carries this melody through the piano and the movement comes to a deliberately loud, passionate section that hits all the harder when it is repeated a second time. After the climax, the funeral procession theme appears again, this time even more somber. The next movement could not be more contrasting, with the piano leading as the strings joyfully imitate one another in playful repose. The final movement of this work is highly complex, beginning with a strikingly bright theme that is suddenly interrupted by a second, darker theme, almost acting in contrast to the 2nd and 3rd movements. The brooding march from the second movement is played as Schubert takes the listener through a sea of melodies until, miraculously, the second movement theme is played once again, shedding its previous mournful temperament into a triumphant victory. ©2021 Nicole Martin

All musical selections are subject to change without notice.