Yom HaShoah Commemoration
Thursday, May 2nd, 2024, 7:30pm
Entitled Silent Voices Remembered, the concert of Holocaust memorial trios will explore the music of five composers dating from the 1940s to the present. Although the subject is dark, the music is gorgeous, and Essex Piano Trio believes audiences will be inspired by this remembrance, which, while portraying and mourning the atrocities of this genocide, also – as only art can – celebrates the courage and resilience of those who survived and expresses hope for the future of the Jewish people and others targeted by hatred and violence.
The program opens with “Poem,” a poignant movement from Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s Piano Trio, op. 24, of 1945. Weinberg was a Jewish Polish composer whose eloquent music, imbued with elements of Jewish, Polish, and Russian folklore, mourns the tragedies of war, of the Jews, and of his own experiences of flight and survival during the Holocaust. “Poem” serves as prelude to Dmitri Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No. 2 of 1944, so chosen because Shostakovich greatly valued the friendship and collegial relationship he had with Weinberg, whom he regarded as one of his most important Soviet contemporaries.
Composed during the Siege of Leningrad, Shostakovich’s trio mourns the ravages of World War II and the horror of the death camps in which millions of Europe’s Jews were killed, not because of anything they had done, but because of who they were. The closing “Dance of Death” movement is a powerful response to the composer’s horror that Nazi guards forced Jews to dig and dance by their own graves.
The second half of the concert begins with portions of a Suite in Memory of Polish Victims of the Holocaust by little-known composer Yitzhak Edel (1896-1973), born in Warsaw to a Hassidic family who settled in Israel after the war. Dedicated to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust in Poland, the trio consists of prayers and dances that were part of the culture of the Polish ghetto.
Jewish American composer Benjamin Lees’ Silent Voices, premiered at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, is perhaps the darkest piece on the program. Having said “This work represents a small gesture of remembrance to those whose voices were forever stilled by pogroms and genocides of the past,” the composer also acknowledged that the work is applicable to incidents involving violence toward, not only Jewish people, but other populations and communities as well.
The program closes on a note of optimism with the third of a set of Klezmer-like Yiddish Dances
by David Ludwig, a young, still-living American composer of Jewish descent. This joyful little dance embodies the continuing spirit of the Jewish people who celebrate their heritage and the survival of their people into the 21st century.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
After playing together for several years throughout New England, the musical friends known as the Essex Piano Trio
(EPT) formalized their working relationship in 2017. Their signature concert title “Conversation among Friends,” borrowing a descriptive phrase from American biographer Catherine Bowen, alludes to their audience-friendly concert format of interesting music interspersed with casual commentary. The trio’s primary goal has been to grow as musicians while making the best music possible to share with audiences. All from Essex County communities along Boston’s North Shore, violinist Ashley Offret of Salem, cellist David Cabral of Lynn, and pianist Beverly Soll of Rockport believe that their “Conversation among Friends” approach reflects their relationship to the music and to each other. EPT members bring many perspectives from their academic backgrounds and professional lives as educators and performers to their collective as a trio. Pianist Beverly Soll (University of Illinois and University of Maryland) holds a DMA in chamber music/piano. Ashley Offret is a violinist (University of Maine) and music historian (MM, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music). Cellist David Cabral studied at the Boston Conservatory but works as the chief echocardiographer at Boston Medical Center’s Department of Pediatric Cardiology. Visit essexpianotrio.com or follow us on Facebook.
Parking on the green is available to everyone for the Series events.
After 6, parking in downtown Gloucester is free and there are several lots nearby. When parking in and around the area, please make sure not to block our neighbor’s driveways.
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