The epoch of Shostakovich (1906-1975) coincided with a period of fundamental changes in the life of Russia and the entire world community. For deeply personal reasons the revolutionary events that spread in the country at the beginning of the XX Century, had very close links with the composerâ€™s family. Born in Siberian exile, the composerâ€™s father later moved to Petrograd (St.Petersburgâ€™s name in 1914-1924), and hosted persecuted revolutionaries at his place. Being part of family chronicles, the name of Ulyanov was well known to D.Shostakovich from childhood. All that determined the composerâ€™s attitude both towards a personality of the future proletarian leader and most of the happening changes.
The time of Shostakovich was rich in tinges and paradoxes. His work was so much in keeping with the epoch, that at times it narrated it better than the composer himself meant. The epoch equally favorable to the dictator and the creator, the epoch of seeming prosperity and recognition in his lifetime, gave us an example of a phenomenon called Â«home immigrationÂ».
Yet, one should not presume that the composerâ€™s art was exclusively caused by a conflict between of the artistâ€™s personality and values of the totalitarian state. The epoch of Shostakovich never became the past - neither as he died, nor as the ideology of the state changed. On the cross road of two clearly understood, contradictory aspirations, - to be in conformity with the regime and to appeal to peopleâ€™s hearts, there emerges an energy impulse of enormous force - true piece of true art - like the eternal unity of Life and Death.
In 1923 Shostakovich was 17. In the summer time during vacation in Crimea he came to know Tatiana Glivenko, and under a deep impression of their friendship he shortly composed a Trio. The young lady lived in Moscow, the young man in Petrograd. That very fortunate fact helped musicologists to follow even minor details of the process of creation of this opus, as mentioned in the letters of the composer. Originally, the author called it a Poem for piano, violin and cello. The score was accomplished quickly - by October 1923, and its first study version was sent to Moscow to the lady, who was the source of the inspiration, so that she could have a look at it, but it never reached the addressee. The historians suppose that after a long while that very copy came to the State Archives of Literature and Art. In the 20-s the Trio was performed twice, but on both occasions the author was discontent. In 1956 he was recollecting: Â«During a short period after graduating from the Conservatory I was suddenly seized by a doubt as far as my composerâ€™s vocation was concerned... and in an attack of Â«disappointmentÂ» I destroyed almost all my manuscriptsÂ». Some musicologists presume that the destroyed material included the score of the First Trio. Yet, much later, in the 50-s, such a manuscript appeared in the Archives of the Glinka Museum. Whatever happened - in 1947 Trio No 1 by Shostakovich was not in the list of music pieces, and therefore this wonderful piece was never performed or published in the life time of Shostakovich. Only after his death his friend and disciple B.Tischenko made a comparative analysis of both hand written scores of the Trio. The edition, which was the result of this research, was published in Complete Works by D.Shostakovich in 1983.
20 years pass after the creation of the First Trio. In 1944 Shostakovich is a recognized classic and a mature and experienced master. Each significant event in the life of his country finds its immediate reflection in his art. Both performers and audience are waiting for his music compositions. In February 1944 in evacuation I.Solertinsky, eminent art critic and the composerâ€™s close friend, dies. 4 days after his death Shostakovich starts working on a piano Trio dedicated to his friendâ€™s memory. Always known as a fast worker, this time the composer works in the course of half a year, abandoning the score and then going back to it again. The score is accomplished by the end of the summer. Trio e-moll is performed by the author, D.Tsiganov and S.Shirinsky at the opening of the season in the Leningrad Philharmonia in November 1944. From that moment on it occupies a stable place in the repertory of chamber ensembles all over the world. Trio e-moll continues the memorial tradition of Russian chamber music, following works of genius by P.Tchaikovsky (Trio Â«To the Memory of a Great ArtistÂ» dedicated to N.Rubinstein), S.Rachmaninov (Trio to the Memory of P.Tchaikovsky), A.Arensky (to the Memory of K.Davidov). Yet, a 4-movement cycle by Shostakovich (it is also occasionally called Â«symphony for three instrumentsÂ») goes out of the framework of proper dedication and is perceived as a requiem to the victims of war and fascism, as a monument to non-resistance to evil. Its restrain, precision, strict selection of means of expression permits one to speak of stylistic clearance, simplicity and even poster-like manner. The composer managed to embody a large-scale general human idea. This music piece is rich in contents and carries an extremely powerful supply of energy, it invariably attracts attention of performers and audience the world over and has become a subject of numerous research papers, still remaining an enigma due to its deep meaningâ€¦
Life goes on, and more and more time is separating us from the real epoch of Shostakovich. Possibly, the audience of the future, free of the influence of traditional opinion and habitual points of view, will have a fresh perception and understanding of the meaning of the art of Shostakovich, his gist and idea.
Translation: Tatyana Litvinova
Â«The play of Brahms Trio is remarkable for exquisiteness and subtlety of each minor detail, precision of the general idea and powerful personal energy of the performers...Â»
Â«...wonderful reading of the Trio by Shostakovich...full of understanding of the irony, bitterness and humour particular for this music piece...Â»
Â«The StradÂ» Magazine
1. Piano Trio No.1, op. 8, Andante
2. Piano Trio No. 2, op. 67, Andante - Moderato - Poco piu mosso
3. Piano Trio No. 2, op. 67, Allegro con brio
4. Piano Trio No. 2, op. 67, Largo
5. Piano Trio No. 2, op. 67, Allegretto