Extracts from Reviews: Morgenstern Trio


After the concert, I asked to be led to the back stage to meet the three musicians of the Morgenstern Trio from Germany. I remarked that the program was not one about “destiny” as the cellist indicated in his speech but one on “death.”  I added that it was refreshing to hear serious music — one that was unamplified. Here on Maui, I explained, we hear a lot of “happy” music that’s always amplified. We get a lot of background music, too.

The program of October 24, 2014 at the McCoy Theater of the Maui Arts and Cultural Center featured three pieces. Schubert wrote his Notturno in the last year of his life. He knew death was around the corner. Shostakovich wrote the Piano Trio no. 2 in E minor in the year 1944. Smetana was dealing with the loss of one of his daughters when he wrote the Piano Trio in G Minor. The program was followed by a standing ovation and Germaine Tailleferre’s Piano Trio originally written in 1916-1917 and revised in 1978.

Below are extracts from first-time concert reviews of students from my piano class. I’m interested in their observations, feelings, and thoughts. For many, it’s their first time attending a concert of classical music.

“They started with a nice piece of music by Franz Peter Schubert. This piece was not as long as the next two pieces and was maybe the most happy sounding.” – Robert

“If I had to choose my favorite piece it would be the first one because I just loved the flow and the energy and the emotions that could be received from that piece. I also noticed that without having any other sort of entertainment in the background you begin to observe things you normally wouldn’t when watching another type of concert that has both music and another sort of entertainment.” – Madieson

“The second piece by Shostakovich began with an unhopeful melody perhaps about war. Most of the melody sounded quite manic and frantic as if a part of a Sherlock Holmes scene. And the ending sounded something like a deadly snake slithering through a crowd, not knowing which foot it might bite.” – Camille

“As a beginning violinist, I was very interested in watching Hempel. His movements were familiar as well as inspiring. He held such great form all throughout the performance. Seeing them play has really inspired me to pick up the violin and just play everyday. To be able to play is one thing, but to be able to play with others an entirely different skill I have yet to master. This is my goal and it has been started by watching the Morgenstern Trio perform.” – Luke

“I couldn’t understand any of it but I was astounded by the sheer virtuosity. This level of artistry is admirable but it befuddles me. Perhaps if I were to hear each instrument individually I’d be able to understand the music and thus appreciate it more.” – Andrew

Smetana: Third Movement from Piano Trio, Op. 15

Smetana: Third Movement from Piano Trio, Op. 15

“While I was watching them perform, I felt like they were performing mainly for me. The rows of people sitting and enjoying in front of me just disappeared in my sight. Each of the pieces that they played was very intense and dramatic. Another thing I enjoyed about this concert was that I recognized some of the dynamics that I learned at my music class while they were performing.” – Genie

“When the Trio was explaining where and what the music came from the audience was stone faced. But as they began to play I noticed that audience, me included began to sort of frown and the low deep parts of the music and kind of grin at the happy upbeat parts of the song. Although the theme of the night was death I felt they captured that theme extremely well.” – Gabe

“The performance helped me to have closure on the inevitable death of a family member. It was presented well with the ever so somberness in my soul. Overall, the trio did a fantastic job influencing me to capture the idea of death and everything associated with it. I can now better appreciate ‘real’ music because of the rhythm, passion, precision, balance in sound and perfect intonation.” – Sai

“This was my very first music experience like this and I hope to see more in the future. It was an experience I would never forget and I appreciate so much for having this be a mandatory assignment by my piano teacher.” – Tiffani

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Filed under audience, composer, composition, concert, culture, instrument, personality, piano, research, review, sheet music

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