The Verbier Festival continues on medici.tv straight from the gorgeous Salle des Combins with a pair of scintillating concerts! Pianist Mikhail Pletnev performs sonatas by Beethoven—the very first and the very last!—and is then joined by violinist Janine Jansen and cellist Mischa Maisky to take on a masterpiece of the chamber repertoire, Tchaikovsky's Piano Trio in A Minor, subtitled In memory of a great artist.
Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 1 (written in 1795) broke with several compositional conventions of the day, written in a contemplative minor key at a time when major-key works predominated, comprising four movements instead of the usual three, and finishing with a ferocious Prestissimo rather than a lighter final movement. Twenty-seven years and countless watershed moments later, Beethoven composed his 32nd and final piano sonata. Following a mixed reception for its two-movement structure and its monstrous difficulty, it has since garnered a reputation as an essential work by an essential composer, with a lively and dynamic first movement and the contrasting Arietta, slow and peaceful, that leads into an increasingly complicated set of variations.
The evening ends in fireworks with a masterstroke from Tchaikovsky: although initially somewhat reticent at the idea of bringing the piano, violin, and cello into conversation, the composer began writing this sublime trio in December 1881 as an homage to his friend and mentor Nikolai Rubinstein, who had passed away in March of that year. The work is not oppressively mournful but rather plaintive and poignant, bittersweet and nostalgic, with the stark piano, heartrending violin, and sumptuously beautiful cello roles blending together to create an effect of overwhelming profundity.
To keep festival-goers and performers as safe as possible, the Verbier Festival is organized a little bit differently this year. In order to welcome as many audience members as possible, all while respecting the reduced seating capacity of the Salle des Combins, some evenings feature two separate performances. When the first show ends, stay with us for the entr'acte—2021 marks 15 years of the Verbier Festival on medici.tv, and we've prepared a special compilation showcasing some of our most memorable moments together!
Photo: Mikhail Pletnev © Harald Hoffmann
Janine Jansen appears courtesy of Decca.
Verbier Festival 2018
Verbier Festival 2017