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Music and Champagne in Alexandria

Trio SarastroOn Saturday, January 13th, at 1PM, the newly founded Trio Sarastro (a.k.a. Trio Ègoistes) will perform at the Lyceum in Alexandria and which includes a little champagne and dessert reception before the music gets under way. The Trio Sarastro consists of Moscow-born, local violinist and Curci Violin Competition winner Emil Chudnovsky and the up-and-coming British musicians Jamie Walton (cello) and Daniel Grimwood (piano). Both have been hailed by the British press (Daily Telegraph, International Piano Magazine etc.) as being among the very best musicians of their generation; Jamie Walton's CDs (Saint-Saens, Elgar, Miaskovsky et al.) have been highly acclaimed and award winning in the UK and US. As a trio these three musicians, all 'born soloists' (hence my nickname Trio Ègoistes), have a great rapport together and their appearances (Wigmore Hall, Henselt Festival - Schwabach, Germany) have been hailed by critics and audiences alike. Later this month (January 16th) they will perform at New York City's Merkin Hall. For 2007, they are already engaged to return to Washington as part of the Corcoran Gallery chamber music series.

On January 13th, they will play Adolph von Henselt's Piano Trio in A minor, op. 24 and Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy's Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor, op. 66. Born in 1814, Henselt enjoys little name recognition, even among professional musicians. In his time, however, he was regarded an equal of his pianist-composer colleagues Mendelssohn, Chopin, and Liszt. Early successes during an 1838 concert tour in Russia resulted in his immediate appointment as Court Pianist, a position enabling him to teach in St. Petersburg. It was in his capacity as a piano teacher that Henselt had the greatest impact, effectively founding the Russian school of piano playing. Almost all subsequent great Russian pianists trace their musical lineage back to Henselt, via such pupils of his as Zverev, himself renowned as Rachmaninoff’s and Scriabin’s teacher.

Henselt’s trio was written in 1851, six years after Mendelssohn completed his exceedingly well-known second trio. For Mendelssohn, the second trio was the last important chamber work of his life, written a mere two years before his untimely death. In its final movement, the trio pays homage to Bach – with a direct quote of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”.

Tickets are $30 for adults, $20 for students and seniors, and are available by calling (410) 746-5995 or at the door on the day of the performance.

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