January 23, 2003
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Osiris Triod
Photo: Marco Borggreve

Dutch piano trio to play in concert

By Ken Champney

The Osiris Piano Trio of Amsterdam will play in Yellow Springs this Sunday, Jan. 26, at 7:30 p.m., at the Presbyterian Church, 314 Xenia Avenue.

The three Dutch musicians (Ellen Corver, piano; Peter Brunt, violin; Larissa Groeneveld, cello) have been playing together since 1988, and made their American debut in Carnegie Recital Hall in 1997.

The Los Angeles Times praised their “passion, momentum and musical power”; The New York Times noted the “zest of the performers, their largeness in every musical dimension.”

The program here will include Franz Schubert’s lush Trio in B-flat major, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Trio in C minor, Op. 1 No. 3, and Frank Martin’s Trio on Irish Folk Tunes (1925).

When you listen to the Schubert work, composer Robert Schumann said, “the troubles of our human existence disappear and all the world is fresh and bright again.”

From its opening bars cast in triplets to the end of its dashing rondo, this piece is a fount of melodious delight. The last movement quotes a song whose text goes, “In the morning light of May, let us enjoy the life of a flower before its scent fades.” Yes, yes.

The Beethoven trio was written in the early 1790s. His teacher Joseph Haydn thought its jagged drama a bit much, and urged him not to publish it. Europe at the time was seething with jagged drama. The French had just tossed out Louis XVI, Americans had kissed King George goodbye, royal heads everywhere were worried silly.

Beethoven’s sympathies were with the commoners seeking freedom, and that may have fed his revolutionary approach to composition.

Frank Martin (1890–1974) was born in Switzerland and moved to the Netherlands in 1946. In Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Nicholas Slominski praised Martin’s “distinctive style [and] consummate mastery of contrapuntal and harmonic writing” and noted his “ability to stylize folk-song material in modern techniques.”

A review from Vancouver described an Osiris performance of the Martin trio “incandescent and revelatory.”

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Tickets are $12 for adults, $4 for students, and can be bought in advance at The Emporium, or reserved by leaving a message at 374-8800.

The pre-concert program begins at 6 p.m., and includes a simple meal and a talk by Christopher Durrenberger, professor of piano at Wittenberg University and a Coleman and Carmel chamber music prize winner.

A post-concert reception for the artists will be held at the home of Jane Baker. Reservations are required; call 374-8800.