Dmitri Shostakovich’s first trio is one of his little-known early works, but one in which the composer’s maturity is revealed. Even though it consists of just one movement, it is no less varied in tempi and characters. Originally named Poem, it was composed in 1923 on the occasion of a sojourn in Crimea.
Twenty years later, Dmitri Shostakovich wrote his second trio, dedicated to the memory of his friend Ivan Sollertinski who died in February 1944. This period coincided with the discovery of the extermination camp in Majdanek in Poland – a terrible shock for Shostakovich. This explains the haunting presence of a traditional Jewish theme in the last movement of the trio, a theme that can be found in his 8th Quartet, dedicated to the victims of fascism and of the war.
After the interval is a return to the 19th century with the magnificent trio by Piotr Illitch Tchaikovsky. This masterpiece was also written during the pain following the loss of a loved one; that of his mentor N. Rubenstein, to whom Tchaikovsky dedicates his trio with the words “in memory of a great artist”.
The Khaldei Trio offers a variation of this programme, in which the Trio is joined by soprano Liesbeth Devos, for a concert devoted entirely to Shostakovich. After the two trios come the Seven Romances on Poems of Alexander Blok, composed for his most precious musical friends. The result is an extremely intense sequence: soothing and very personal thoughts on love, intimacy, friendship and the power of art.