A Haunting Journey

Dmitri Shostakovitch’s Piano Trio in E Minor was written in 1944 after news of the Holocaust reached the USSR, which had a profound effect on the composer. The piece is a lamentation for the victims of that tragedy, and for the death of a close friend. Shostakovitch employed scales and rhythms from Jewish folk music for a piece that begins with a haunting melody, introduced as harmonics on the cello, and proceeds thru differing moods including a fast, swirling waltz-like dance, a slow, dark and moody Largo, culminating in a “dance of death” filled with pizzicato and driving rhythms that ends on a shattering E major chord that slowly fades to nothing. Camerata Pacifica’s Paul Huang, Inna Faliks and Ani Aznavoorian played this demanding and at times dissonant work with all the technical skill, subtlety and bravado required to make for a compelling journey through a range of emotions!