The Geneseo Piano Trio held their debut performance on Sunday Nov. 15 in Doty Hall. The trio consisted of a violin, cello and piano combination featuring lecturers in music Andrew Bergevin on violin, James Kirkwood on cello and professor of music Jonathan Gonder on piano. The auditorium quickly filled with a large audience that was mostly made up of students.
The trio played two compositions from the Classical era, which were written by two well known composers of the period. The performance had a traditional atmosphere from the way the performers were dressed to their reserved manners.
The concert began with Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Piano Trio No. 44 in E Major, Hob. XV:28.” As the pioneer of piano trios, the composition was one of Haydn’s most remarkable works. The first movement of the concert was a simple yet elegant one: “Allegro moderato.” It had a playful, mellow feel to it with the strings opening with pizzicato and the piano playing a satisfactory accompaniment. With a comfortable, moderato tempo and beautiful harmonies combined between the three instruments, the movement was very pleasing.
The second movement of the composition—“Allegretto”—presented a contrasting character to the first with dark and mysterious tones, creating a more somber feel for the movement. Arpeggios simultaneously played by all three instruments dramatically completed the elusive second movement in a grand, bold fashion.
“Finale Allegro,” the last movement, transitioned back to the sweet, harmonious tone that Haydn is famous for. In this movement, the melody of the movement returned several times. The intensity of the piece varied from peaceful to downright fervent. The movement was vivid and lively—a perfect conclusion to the trio’s first piece.
The trio’s next piece was Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Piano Trio No. 7 in B-flat major, Op. 97 ‘Archduke’”—an equally famous and talented composer of the Classical period. The trio was written for Beethoven’s friend and student—the Archduke Rudolph of Austria—and has been celebrated as another remarkable work in the piano trio repertoire.
The movements of Beethoven’s piano trio were much longer, with all the movements lasting roughly 40 minutes. The first one, “Allegro moderato,” captured the essence of complexity with a very difficult piano part, a large range of tones for all three instruments and flashy trills. Among all of this, the movement balanced the musical texture into three equal parts.
The second and third movements—“Scherzo” and “Andante Cantabile”—were both much less dramatic than the first in different ways. “Scherzo” was a lighthearted and cheerful movement while “Andante Cantabile” was mellower. Both of them gave the melody to two instruments, with the third playing an accompaniment underneath. The constant change of relations between the three performers—as well as the recurring melody—kept the two movements interesting despite how lengthy they both were.
The finale was a sonata-rondo movement, resembling the theme of a dance. “Allegro moderato” interrupted the serenity of the previous movement with a bombastic sensation that resembled the first movement. The finale was distinct in the way that it departed from the traditional format of music, a feature typical of the Classical era.
The Geneseo Piano Trio performed two very significant compositions to the piano trio genre by two brilliant composers with incredible aptitude. They had a tangible, unspoken connection that seemed to enable them to blow the entire audience away with an astonishing performance.