‘Heroic’ trio will take to the stage in Beaver Creek
Vail CO, Colorado
Editor’s note: Director’s Corner is a weekly column where Kris Sabel, who is in charge of cultural programming for the Vail Valley Foundation, gives his expert take on shows not to be missed.
Take the Vilar Performing Arts Center (among the best venues in the country to see acoustic classical music), mix in one of the most sought after piano trios in the world and add a program of exciting and accessible music. What do you get? A rare musical treat. The Eroica Trio take the stage in Beaver Creek on Sunday at 6:30 p.m.
If you have never seen classical music performed in the Vilar Center, I can think of no better introduction than this concert. The artists play with flawless technical virtuosity, irresistible enthusiasm and sensual elegance. Audiences around the world respond with standing ovations to what critics call the “gusto” and “heart-stopping mastery” of the Eroica Trio.
They chose the name Eroica, the French word for heroic, because they liked the larger-than-life feel of the word, not because of Beethoven’s famous “Eroica” Symphony No. 3 in E flat. “We felt that our style of playing was very passionate and very big and very-heroic, in a way,” cellist Sara Sant’Ambrogio explains. “And we also liked the fact that it was Eroic-a, with that ‘Ah’ ending, and the very slight intonation of the feminine. We thought that was really nice.”
The trio has garnered as much attention for their beauty as they have for their beautiful playing. Marketing photos of the trio are sensual and glamorous and often include the women in designer gowns and chic fashions. Critics are split on the value of this, and some feel it detracts from their talent. But lets face it ” classical music as an industry has struggled to attract new and younger audiences, so if their good looks and sense of fashion get people into the concert hall, so be it. I assure you once you hear them you will fall in love with the talent, passion and energy they bring to the music. “They look like supermodels and they play like demons on crack,” proclaimed one particularly hype-savvy writer at the Tucson Citizen.
Musically, the group has garnered critical acclaim and commercial success by virtue of its exploration of a varied repertoire that includes works by composers ranging from Bach to Shostakovich and newer works by Paul Schoenfield and Raimundo Penaforte, among others.
Sunday’s program includes three tangos by Astor Piazolla. These tangos are intoxicating and sultry and have become favorites of chamber ensembles in recent years. The Aria number 5 from Bachianas Brasileiras (“Cantilena”) by Heitor Villa Lobos is breathtaking, originally written for soprano and eight cellos; this arrangement by Penaforte brilliantly showcases the musical talents of each member of the trio. Opening the evening is Rebecca Clarke’s beautiful and highly accessible Piano Trio. The piece is performed in three movements: the first is quite powerful and full of nervous energy; the second, with its contrasting gentleness, suggests a sense of timelessness; the third is bright and dance-like. Also included in the program are Bernstein’s West Side Story Fantasy and Schoenfields Allegro movement from his Cafe Music. Absent from the evening are the Beethoven and Schubert trios that have made this group famous, but audiences back from a long day on the slopes will delight in the beauty and playfulness of these works during this festive season.
The trio performed at the Vilar Center six years ago in one of the most successful classical concerts we have ever presented. I remember the audience holding their breath waiting to hear the final note play out. Don’t miss this second opportunity to see these exceptional musicians live at the Vilar Center. I hope to see you at the theatre.