BY ALYSSA CROW
The Elixir Piano Trio happened November 20th at 12pm in the S2 Recital Hall. Admission was free. Cellist Fang Fang Xu, violinist Samvel Chilingarian and pianist Lucy Nargizyan provided an afternoon of live classical music. They played works composed as trios and adapted to be played as trios. “Trio Pathetique in D Minor” by Mikhail Glinka was the first piece performed. Glinka is often considered the father of Russian music. The piece was composed in one movement but has several mini movements in it.
“Piano Trio in G Minor, Op. 110” by Robert Schumann was composed in four movements. Schumann is often considered the heart of Romanticism for composers. Nargizyan described the piece as having passion, drama, despair but also hope and humor. The first movement, Bewegt, doch nicht zu rasch (Moving, but not too fast), was like a conversation between each instrument, a discussion back and forth, separate voices that would come back together to form a harmony. The performers listened to each other very well and gave enough space for each voice to be heard. It was like a conversation between each instrument, asking how the other one was doing. A call and response.
The second movement, Ziemlich langsam (Pretty slow), was slow, more melodious, and had the cello playing on higher notes, creating an uplifting sad tone. The trio played as if they had three separate sorrows they came together to discuss. The voices were working together to uplift each other’s spirits. The mood was plaintive, but with sprigs of hope dispersed throughout the piece.
The third movement, Rasch (Quickly), was like the instruments were waking up. They became lively again and it appeared to be a piece with more joy and personality.
The final movement, Kräftig, mit Humor (Strong, with humor), was a celebration. Each instrument was now allowed to show off their voices, and each player was able to demonstrate their talents and skills, the best attributes of each musical instrument was highlighted. The sound here was more traditional with repeated rhythms and beats, a classical movement one could keep time to. The piece made a call back to the first movement, as if to let people remember the sad times but that there is joy right now in this moment.
“Invierno Porteño” composed by Astor Piazzolla, came as a piece that highlighted each instrument with several solos. The group stayed together, had great communication, and played succinctly and with great passion.
“Sabre Dance” composed by Aram Khachaturian, was the most easily recognizable, probably the most fun to play, and with the most passion. This was the piece to show off technical abilities. “Sabre Dance” is usually played with an entire orchestra with brass and percussion instruments keeping the rhythm. It was a surprise and a delight to see “Sabre Dance” composed to fit a cello, violin, and piano trio. Each of the members played so well together with great rhythm and passion that Chilingarian broke two strings from his violin bow. They did indeed save the best for last.