A great friend and supporter of the chamber music festival, Ulli Crespo, passed away suddenly a year ago today. I have chosen these three works to celebrate her long participation in the Festival, her love of music and of West Cork. Ulli’s love of chamber music can be divined from another festival she supported in Kronberg near Frankfurt that she named ‘Chamber Music Connects the World’, an aspiration we all desire, more especially as concert venues in Ireland are shut down yet again.
While listening to these recordings I thought also of the poet, Derek Mahon, who died last week. Many of us have been enriched and inspired by his poetry over the last forty years. They will both be missed.
Andrea Tarrodi (above) is a Swedish composer whose voice is increasingly being heard internationally. Her Second Quartet, ‘Light Scattering’, opens with a barely heard whisper and flows in a great arc before slipping gently back into silence – a lifetime in twelve minutes. The composer writes about the reflection of light on water as her inspiration and true to this image, close to the end you hear the seagulls calling. The performers are the Swedish Dahlkvist Quartet, two sisters, a brother and a Russian violinist of illustrious lineage. Listen here
The next very short piece, also by Tarrodi, is called ‘Sorrow and Joy’. It was written for Hanna and Jon Dahlkvist, who perform it here. It seems right for the occasion, sometimes miniatures like this can reach a place in the heart that longer, more powerful works just miss. The strong connection between composer and the two musicians is part of the magic. Listen here.
The next work is more obvious, in the great Russian tradition begun by Tchaikovsky of writing piano trios as memorials; in Shostakovich’s case for his greatest friend and mentor, Ivan Sollertinsky. This was a wartime composition, so there was a whole generation to mourn. This performance dates from five years ago, three Festival stars – violinist Alina ibragimova, cellist Natalie Clein and pianist Alexander Melnikov – play it for you. Listen here