In July, I wrote about Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor. I described the nostalgic feeling I sometimes have in August: Summer is not yet over, but the days are getting shorter, early morning fog announces the approaching fall. By now, we are well into autumn and I am looking back to the summer – melancholic, but determined to hold on to the beautiful moments I experienced this summer. Mendelssohn has written another piece that seems to describe that mood: Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 49. It is on the same record than the violin concerto with Anne-Sophie Mutter playing the violin, Lynn Harrell as the cellist and André Previn at the piano.
Loud, massive, ecstatic, modern. Calm, elegant, majestic, traditional. Frenzy and serenity. A self-portrait? An allegory of life? Between 1909 and 1911 the British composer Edward Elgar wrote an intriguing symphony in E flat major, Op. 63. I heard it yesterday night for the very first time at the Philharmonie de Luxembourg. I did not like it. It was not the orchestra’s fault. I will have to listen to it again. Soon. And then perhaps I will know what to think about it. I have an idea that there is something great hidden in this piece. But I didn’t find it yesterday.
Those of you following me on Twitter know how often I am listening to the trios and quartets written by Ludwig van Beethoven, and I am surprised myself that I do not write more frequently about him. But it is a fact that when I listen to those pieces, I forget about everything else. Ludwig would probably frown his eyes. He knew how important public relations were to get new commissions and earn a little money.
It all started with a fraud. We were three students: Ellen, Thomas and myself. It must have been in July during our last year at university or the year before. It was hot, and we were desperately looking for a way to sneak into an open air classic concert. Officially, the concert was sold out. Tickets were available on the black market, but at a price that none of us was willing to pay. So we scouted out the cordon around the Königsplatz in Munich to see if there was any spot through which we could enter the concert area. There wasn’t. Police and security teams everywhere, fences, barriers – no trespassing.