Berlin Stories: Trio Gaspard

July 31, 2023, 9:00 am

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Berlin Stories is the first in a new series of recordings by Trio Gaspard, focused on different cultural capitals and composers associated with them. The album features three composers who lived and worked in Berlin for a period of their lives. Felix Mendelssohn’s grandfather, Moses, was a philosopher who established a preeminent position for the family in Berlin and created opportunities for both Felix and his sister Fanny to realize their musical potential. The Second Piano Trio is a perfect example of Mendelssohn’s style, combining a total mastery of classical structure and counterpoint with a Romantic sensibility. Born in Moscow but of Swiss parentage, Paul Juon came to Berlin in 1894 and remained in the city until 1934. Litaniae is cast as a single movement and resembles Richard Strauss’s tone poems in scale and ambition. The Greek composer Nikos Skalkottas arrived in Berlin in 1921 and stayed until 1933. His Eight Variations exemplify his ability to combine serial composition with his native folk music. All the members of Trio Gaspard have lived or still live in Berlin, and Berlin Stories expresses their love and admiration for this endlessly fascinating and invigorating metropolis.