The Arman Trio at the Chopin Society Sublime music making of weight and intimacy to ravish the soul

Deniz covered in flowers – gifts from ever grateful students

What a refreshing change to hear three musicians sharing their music together creating an intimate atmosphere where the music was allowed to speak so naturally and without any showmanship or rhetoric.It was Maude Tortelier who asked me one day if I knew what she meant when she spoke of ‘weight’.It is leaning into the very heart of a note like a limpet clutching a rock and it is in that weight that music can grow with an infinite variety of sounds without fear of explosive percussiveness.On the cello of course Paul Tortelier and above all his master Pablo Casals would dig deep into the note with the weight of the bow on the strings and the left hand never leaving the string – like an organist who has to find a way of never allowing the air to escape between the mechanically produced notes.Today we were privileged to have a violinist and cellist who have just such weight and could delve deep into the notes with a mastery that would allow their playing to follow their ears.Musicians listening so attentively to each other in a real musical conversation.Not a shouting match but as Menuhin described it:’mutual anticipation!’ (not quite in that context which was referring to English gentlemanly habits as opposed to Latin ‘mutual provocation’ but it applies the same).The wonderful ‘cello of Dorel Fodoreanu and the feeling we could trust his great musicianship to combine so unselfishly with the velvet beauty of the violin of Constantin Bogdanas of the ‘old’ school of Sandor Vegh or indeed Enescu himself! Two musicians who have been playing together for a lifetime with the magical link in the chain being Deniz Arman Gelenbe.The ravishing beauty of her playing and the sensitivity of her ears is a rare marvel indeed.To see the ‘arch’ of her small hand moving horizontally over the keys reminded me of Alicia de Larrocha who like Deniz was incapable of making harsh ungrateful sounds.Loud,passionate sounds of course but never percussive.Streams of sound that just seemed to pour from her fingers were like washes of colour that were enveloped into the sumptuous string sounds of her companions of forty years.Such glowing fluidity and beauty in the Beethoven Trio was followed by the nebulous washes of sound in late Fauré.A trio where the composer like Busoni was leaving his earlier mellifluous sounds for a secret world of nebulous atmospheres that no longer had sharp well defined edges.And the gaiety and light they brought to Dvorak’Dumky’ as they let their hair down and shared their delight in teasingly traditional nationalistic melodies.The most moving and finely spun performance,though,was kept to the very end with a short piece by Piazzola full of insinuating suggestive sounds and ravishing colours.

An afternoon of being allowed to share in intimate performances of ‘Hausmusik’ ( I wonder if google has ever heard of that!) where we,the audience,were drawn in to the music which we listened to in a hushed silence that belied the actual numbers that were privileged to be present.

Deniz Arman Gelenbe receiving an ovation after her exquisite performance of three Chopin Mazurkas – ‘canons covered in flowers’ to quote Schumann.
And flowers there certainly were from her numerous adoring students present to listen and learn from such a modest master.
An ovation from the Chopin Society audience who have already requested a return appearance of chamber music.Unfortunately the Chopin early Trio op 8 is not amongst his masterpieces but I am sure Lady Rose Cholmondeley will insist it gets a fair hearing in these hallowed surrounds.
A packed house at the Chopin Society in the Westminster Cathedral Hall
Beethoven’s op 1 is a set of three piano trios first performed in 1795 in the house of Prince Lichnowsky , to whom they are dedicated.The trios were published in 1795.
Despite the Op. 1 designation, these trios were not Beethoven’s first published compositions;this distinction belongs rather to his Dressler Variations for keyboard (WoO 63). Clearly he recognized the Op. 1 compositions as the earliest ones he had produced that were substantial enough (and marketable enough) to fill out a first major publication to introduce his style of writing to the musical public .Unlike the other piano trios in this opus, the third trio does not have a scherzo as its third movement but a minuet instead.
and was later reworked by Beethoven into the C minor string quartet op.104.The third Piano Trio in C minor, Op 1 No 3, is a work of startling explosive vehemence and dark lyric beauty. Haydn, recently returned from London, was among Prince Lichnowsky’s guests; and was full of praise for numbers 1 and 2 but taken aback by the C minor, Beethoven’s favourite.
Whatever Haydn’s misgivings, Beethoven’s earliest masterpiece in his most characteristic key gradually became one of his most popular chamber works. The mysterious, ‘pregnant’ unison opening is, coincidentally or not, reminiscent of Mozart’s piano concerto in the same key, K491 (still unpublished in 1795). But the music is profoundly Beethovenian in its abrupt, extreme contrasts, with violent rhetoric (the first page alone is peppered with sforzando accents) alternating with intense pathos and yearning lyricism. The famous heroic narratives of Beethoven’s ‘middle period’ are already in view.
Gabriel Fauré’s Piano Trio in D minor, op 120 is one of the composer’s late chamber works. The first public performance was given in May 1923 for the Société National de Musique in honour of the composer’s 78th birthday.The following month it was performed by the celebrated trio of Alfred Cortot ,Jacques Thibaud and Pablo Casals ,it is dedicated to Mme Maurice Rouvier,widow of the former prime minister.
Fauré had retired as director of the Paris Conservatoire in 1920 and in April he began work, at first in Paris, and later when staying with friends in the south of France.Work was temporarily halted by an attack of pneumonia after which Fauré went to his favourite resort,resuming work on the piece.
Fauré wrote to his wife, who remained in Paris, “The trouble is that I cannot work for long at a time. My worst tribulation is a perpetual fatigue.”
After returning to Paris Fauré completed the trio in mid-February 1923. And the premiere was given on 12 May by three young graduates of the Conservatoire: Fauré was ill, and could not attend.
Durand published the work the same year.The Parisian newspaper Comoedia commented enthusiastically after the first performance, greeting “a beautiful work that enriches the chamber music repertory”. The reviewer praised “the elegant clarity, the equilibrium of thought and the serenity” of Fauré’s recent compositions, and commented on the composer’s success in playing the most disparate musical ideas off against each other.
Fauré was actually present at the performance the following year, given by the Cortot- Thibaud-Casals Trio.
The Piano Trio No. 4 in E minor op 90 B 166 -Dumky trio is among Dvorak’s best-known works.He completed the trio on 12 February 1891 and it was premiered in Prague on 11 April 1891, with Dvořák himself on piano.The same evening,it was so well received that Dvořák performed it on his forty-concert farewell tour throughout Moravia and Bohemia, just before he left for the United States to head the National Conservatory of Music of America in New York City. The trio was published while Dvořák was in America and was proofread by his friend Johannes Brahms.
The form of the piece is structurally simple but emotionally complicated, being an uninhibited Bohemian lament. Considered essentially formless, at least by classical standards, it is more like a six movement dark fantasia—completely original and successful, a benchmark piece for the composer. Being completely free of the rigours of sonata form gave Dvořák license to take the movements to some dizzying, heavy, places, able to be both brooding and yet somehow, through it all, a little lighthearted.
Much loved teacher of so many illustrious students at Trinity Laban Conservatory where she was head of keyboard studies for many years
Here is one of them in a recent performance with Deniz present ,third from the right
Deniz’s students with the distinguished guest Prince Dr Donatus von Hohenzollern
Here is another of Deniz’s students in performance in Florence – second from right:

Six years ago I wrote about Deniz’s concert in her ‘All about Mozart series’ at St John’s Smith Square

Deniz an ex student of Gyorgy Sandor a great friend who used to play and give masterclasses regularly for us in Rome
Gyorgy Sandor with my wife Ileana Ghione after one of his many appearances in the Ghione theatre in Rome
Yisha Xue of the National Liberal Club with me and Simone Tavoni
Liza Peacock the distinguished concert manager
Deniz being covered in flowers
Flowers appearing unexpectedly from all directions
The triumph of the Trio


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