20 May 2018

SHOSTAKOVICH: Piano Trio No 2 in E minor Op 67

From Music Alive, 8:00 pm on 20 May 2018

“As harrowing and uncomfortable as it may be to play and listen to, it exists as a memorial in sound to horrors of our recent history that are in essence beyond words.” ~ Te Kōkī Trio

The first performance in 1944, was for a long time also the last. Almost immediately after its première, the work was banned by Soviet authorities.

Te Kōkī Trio - Martin Riseley (violin), Inbal Megiddo (cello), Jian Liu (piano)

Dmitri Shostakovich in 1950

Dmitri Shostakovich in 1950 Photo: CC BY-SA 3.0

This music gives some idea of what it may have been like to live in the Soviet Union during Stalin’s reign. Shostakovich wrote it in memory of his 'closest friend', the musicologist Ivan Sollertinsky who suddenly died of a heart attack at the age of just 41. Sollertinsky’s death affected Shostakovich deeply, “to live without him will be unbearably difficult,” he said.

Violinist Rostislav Dubinsky joined Shostakovich for the première performance and remembered how the music left a devastating impression. “People cried openly,” he said. “The last, the Jewish part, of the trio had to be repeated by popular acclaim. An embarrassed, nervous Shostakovich repeatedly came onto the stage and bowed awkwardly… After the first performance, it was forbidden to play the trio. Nobody was surprised. The trio not only expressed music; something else was there, as if it were a truthful interpretation of our reality.”

A Wellington Chamber Music Trust concert

Recorded 20 May 2018, St Andrew's on the Terrace, Wellington by RNZ Concert.

Producer & Engineer: Darryl Stack