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Oberon Celebrates Shakespeare, Works by Mendelssohn, Bray, Beethoven / Oberon Trio

Ensemble

Notes & Reviews:

Ten years ago, in 2006, three musicians got together to play Mendelssohn. The trio eventually started looking for an appropriate name, and they eventually found their "patron" in Oberon, one of the characters in Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream. The King of the Elves embodies the pleasure anyone can find in metamorphosis, in games and creativity, and that remains this musical trio's creed until today - the will to remain flexible at all times, avoiding any sort of routine in music-making and programming. "We 'compose' our programmes with great care", affirms cellist Antoaneta Emanuilova. The year 2016 also marked the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death: the trio thus decided to combine both jubilees in one programme. Since contemporary music is also part of the three musicians' repertoire, they commissioned a new work. "We wanted it to be up-to-date, but something that would nevertheless have a connection with our namesake", explains violinist Henja Semmler. They suggested this idea to British composer Charlotte Bray whom the trio's pianist Jonathan Aner met by chance at a concert in Berlin four years before, when she had just moved to the German capital. Now in her mid-thirties, she has written a great amount of chamber music, and her cello concerto has been featured at the BBC Proms. "A magic spell must have been at work: just then, Charlotte was working on a trilogy of piano trios that were to be influenced by Shakespeare", the pianist recalls. Thus, after her first piano trio entitled Those Secret Eyes which had been inspired by Shakespeare's Macbeth, Bray decided to search for inspiration int eh dreamworld of Oberon for her next work in the same genre. The resulting piano trio fantasia That Crazed Smile evokes a moonlit night where fairies join forces to shower star-crossed lovers with dreams. Bray creates Impressionist and Surrealist spaces,alternating between pointillist and planar structures. An elaborate, free-tonal fabric seems to unravel before our eyes, illuminated with flashes of lightning. Expressively heightened moods contrast with passages that are playful, almost dance-like, thus making us utterly forget that Bray is actually applying rigorous composition technique.



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