2013 - Wednesday 19th June, Iris Piano Trio


Beethoven: Piano Trio op. 70 no.1 in D major ‘Ghost’

i)       Allegro vivace e con brio
ii)      Largo assai ed espressivo
iii)     Presto

Mendelssohn: Piano Trio no. 2 in C minor op. 66

i)      Allegro energico e con fuoco
ii)     Andante espressivo
iii)    Scherzo: Molto allegro quasi presto
iv)    Finale: Allegro appassionato 


Yolanda Bruno

Programme Notes

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) was in many ways the most prominent musical figure of the nineteenth century. His music’s immediate appeal was instantly recognised, especially by the rising bourgeois of his day, and by almost all composers of his own and the next generation, who could not escape recognising his influence on their art. After a troubled childhood, overshadowed by an abusive father whom Ludwig replaced early on as the main provider of their family, he moved to Vienna to further his studies in composition and his performing career. The piano trios op. 70 were composed during the summer of 1808 in Heiligenstadt, where he also wrote his devastating testament six years earlier describing the extent of his despair over his deteriorating hearing and consequently his unhappiness in an unsent letter to his brother. By the time he wrote the ‘Ghost Trio’ he was deaf, and the turbulent opening of this trio is followed by a beautiful if not yearning melody from the cello - an instrument that had so far mainly played bass lines in chamber music. The grave second movement with its terrifying climactic points is followed by a return to the classical world of his former teacher Haydn, but with unmistakable Beethovenian outbursts which explore the full dynamic and emotional ranges of the ensemble.       

Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) wrote the piano trio in C minor op.66 in 1845, just two years before his early death. It is considered to be one of his most significant chamber works. Like his other trio in D minor (which is in fact his most celebrated chamber work) it has a ‘Lied ohne Worte’ or ‘Song without Words’ style second movement and a brisk energetic scherzo movement. What makes this trio unique however is a quotation from a chorale melody (based on a sixteenth-century work) in the last movement. Mendelssohn composed this piece while spending a few quiet months with his family in Frankfurt and probably started work on his celebrated ‘Elijah’ (completed in 1846) at the same time as editing a few organ works by Bach. This work is engraved with Mendelssohn’s unique style, which draws upon several influences, including the complex counterpoint of Bach, Mozart’s clarity (especially in the passage work) and Beethoven’s drama. However, there is also an element of religious sonority in the music which gives a more reflective and meditative nature at times in contrast with the typical brilliance found in the third movement especially.


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An exciting new trio, Iris brings together three brilliant young musicians:

Canadian violinist Yolanda Bruno began studying the violin at le Conservatoire de Musique et d'Art Dramatique in Quebec at the age of five. Twice a recipient of the Sylva Gelber career Development Award, she is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Yolanda has performed extensively on radio and television as soloist and chamber musician. As a member of the Hieronymus String Quartet, she was awarded first prize and audience prize in the CAVATINA Intercollegiate String Quartet Competition in March 2012. Recent performances have included recitals at the City of London Festival, the Charter House, and King's Place, with an invitation for a quartet residency in Aldeburgh for March 2013.  Yolanda is currently on scholarship at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she is completing postgraduate studies with David Takeno.

Born in 1987, cellist Jessie Ann Richardson joined the Purcell School in 2000 where she studied with Alexander Boyarsky before joining the Royal Academy of Music under David Strange and Moray Welsh in 2008.  A recipient of many awards and prizes, Jessie was a Chamber Music Fellow at the Royal Academy as a member of the Piatti Quartet and has continued under the patronage of the Martin Musical Scholarship and the Countess of Munster Funds.  As the winner of the Park Lane Group Young Artist in the 2011 series, Jessie gave her debut performance at the Purcell Room in January 2012. She now performs regularly with duo pianist Lynn Carter and amateur orchestras around the UK.

At twenty, Jordanian-born pianist Karim Said gave an acclaimed Barbican debut performance with the English Chamber Orchestra under Sir Colin Davis.  Only a few months later a BBC Proms performance of Berg’s Chamber Concerto with Daniel Barenboim and the West Eastern Divan followed, which led to engagements at such halls as the Berlin Philharmonie, Vienna’s Musikverein, Salzburg’s Mozarteum and many others (including a recital as part of the International Piano Series at the Southbank Centre).  After leaving the Purcell School of Music in 2007, he has won numerous awards and prizes and has been the subject of a documentary film by Christopher Nupen (2008) screened internationally and on BBC4.  Karim was awarded a full Scholarship to study with Professor Tatiana Sarkissova and is currently studying for his Masters which he hopes to finish this year. He is currently supported by the Peter Andry Scholarship.

Further reading:
Serially fascinating: Karim Said plays Schoenberg atThe Rest is Noise
Link to Karim's website


Karim Said