Chamber Music Concert Showcases Piano Trios

SOCORRO, N.M. March 10, 2016 – Willy Sucre and Friends will close out the 2015-16 Presidential Chamber Music Series with a selection of piano trios by Mendelssohn, Hindemith and Brahms at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 21, at New Mexico Tech’s Macey Center.


Willy Sucre returns to Socorro for the final concert in the 2015-16 Chamber Music Series at Tech.


The finale, offered under Tech’s Performing Arts Series (PAS) also is the closing concert in the series sponsored by President Dr. Daniel H. López since its inception; President López will retire later this year. As always, families are welcome and  the concert is free to all.

Joining violist Sucre on stage will be Jerilyn Jorgensen on violin and Cullan Bryant on piano to perform Mendelssohn’s Trio for Violin, Viola and Piano in C minor, Sonata for Violin and Piano Op. 11 No. 2 in D major by Hindemith, and Trio for Violin, Viola and Piano in E flat Op. 40 by Brahms.

Tech Club-Club Macey (TCCM) will host a wine-tasting with local vintner Carl Popp prior to the concert beginning at 5:30 p.m. Two white wines and four red varieties will be served with artisan breads, fruit, cheese and meat platters. Tickets are $10 for TCCM members and $15 for non-members and must be purchased in advance at Macey Center, 835-5342 or Auxiliaries Office in Fidel Center, 835-5050.

“Piano trios are one of the most common forms found in classical chamber music, and certainly among the most popular,” said PAS Director Ronna Kalish. “And, as always, Willy has arranged an evening designed to delight and entertain classical music lovers of all ages.”

Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic period. His mother taught him piano when Mendelssohn was six, and he was recognized as a child prodigy.

His precocity is said to have surpassed even that of Mozart in its intellectual grasp. According to Sucre, Schumann described Mendelssohn as the Mozart of the nineteen century, citing the classical qualities of Mendelssohn’s music within a period dominated by Romanticism.

“He wrote expertly crafted music of polished charm, with a masterful control of texture, achieving superb clarity and balance,” Sucre said, adding that the Piano Trio incorporates all of these characteristics from the very beginning.   

“In the first movement, ‘Allegro,’ the main theme is introduced in all voices in unison, and the movement always retains its rhythmic conciseness,” Sucre continued. “The second part of the exposition is in E flat and is a variation of the main theme; the contrast is accomplished by the introduction of the strings without the piano. Unexpected magnificence closes the first movement.”

The second movement is a “Scherzo,” with a strong dynamic motion caused by the steadily continuing eighth notes. In its entire appearance, the movement reveals the later Mendelssohn, according to Sucre. He described the third movement, “Adagio,” as having parallels to the second movement of the Fifth Symphony of Beethoven, with dramatic outbursts of dynamics and tremolandi from the strings. 

“In the final movement, ‘Allegro,’ is also perhaps a hidden discussion with Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, and the piano part viewed by itself is a reminder of the middle section of piano compositions by Bach,” he said.

Sucre described Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) as one of the most skillful and multifaceted musicians in recent times. “Following the first world war, Hindemith performed as soloist on the violin and viola, conducted, taught, played piano and every other orchestral instrument, organized concerts of ancient music, authored a number of books on music; and, above all, produced an impressive amount of music for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, symphony orchestras, and the operatic stage,” he said.

“Paul Bekker (one of the most influential German music critics of the 20th century) once said, ‘Hindemith doesn’t compose, he musics',” Sucre said, adding that much of Hindemith’s work is harshly overlooked today, especially his chamber repertoire.

Hindemith completed two violin sonatas in 1918, one in E flat major Op 11 No 1, and the Op 11 No 2 in D Major. Cast in three movements, the Sonata in D major was introduced in April 1920, substantially post-Romantic in character.

“It is possible to notice the influence of Roger and Brahms,” Sucre said, adding that the sonata “communicates a sunny and carefree lyricism in the opening ‘Lebhaft,’ and an enthralling joy in the dance-like finale.”

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was a German composer and pianist who spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria. His popularity and influence were considerable, and Brahms is sometimes grouped as “the three Bs” with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven.

“One might wonder if another composer can be found who offers the diversity of emotional and instrumental range we find in the chamber music of Brahms, producing richly rewarding works that are large-scale in their musical and dramatic expansiveness,” Sucre said.

In the Trio in E flat major (originally written for horn and transcribe for viola), Brahms brought together three instruments he had played as a young man.

“Brahms begins this trio with an extended slow movement, then the two melody instruments trade statements of the somber principal refrain, which recurs over supporting harmonies from the piano,” Sucre explained. An energetic “Scherzo” movement provides ample opportunity for the viola part to evoke the outdoor setting of the composition. 


Pianist Cullan Bryant and violinist Jerilyn Bryant will join Willy Sucre for piano concertos. 


According to Sucre, Brahms summons up his deepest emotional resources for the profoundly melancholy movement, said to reflect the composer’s sorrow following the recent death of his mother. As the movement concludes, a slow theme, almost a chorale, is introduced, which will dominate the fast-paced finale.

About Willy and Friends:               

Jerilyn Jorgensen is a member of the performance faculty of Colorado College and has been adjunct faculty in violin and chamber music at the Lamont School of Music of the University of Denver. Jorgensen, who has performed throughout the U.S., has accrued critical praise; her recordings appear on the Naxos label.

The violinist is in demand as a pre-college teacher, counting among her present and past students several winners of regional competitions.  Jorgensen holds bachelor of music degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the Juilliard School, and a master of music degree from Juilliard.

Cullan Bryant is among the most active chamber and collaborative pianists in New York City, maintaining a schedule of over 70 recitals a year. He has performed with many world-class artists, including members of the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and the New York City Ballet Orchestra, among others.

The pianist made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1992 in recital with violinist Patmore Lewis. Bryant has performed at a number of festivals both in the U.S. and Europe. He has been on the faculty of the Academy of Music Summer Festival since 1999. In July of 2002 he toured Japan in recitals with violinist Midori.

Born in La Paz, Bolivia, Sucre has studied at institutions in La Paz, Maine, New York, and the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland. He has been conductor and music director of several ensembles, and served as principal violist and guest conductor of the National Symphony of Bolivia, the Chamber Orchestra of La Paz, and the Albuquerque Chamber Orchestra.

Sucre spends most of his summers in South America looking for new works of chamber music by modern composers and encouraging composers to write new pieces, especially piano quartets.

“Again, Willy and Friends have chosen an inspiring program for this final chamber concert,” Kalish said. “The spring-like weather and the return to Daylight Savings Time should make for a most pleasant evening for all concert-goers.

“And, one final time, all of us at PAS would like to recognize President López for his longtime support and commitment to the performing arts,” Kalish said.

– NMT –

By Valerie Kimble/New Mexico Tech