This weekend, the Florestan Trio is recording the first piano trio by Shostakovich, a student work of the composer’s. We’re adding it to a Shostakovich disc which we recorded a little while ago, and the whole CD will come out in the New Year on the Hyperion label. On the disc, Susan Gritton joins us as the soprano in Shostakovich’s ‘Seven Poems of Alexander Blok’.
The first piano trio was written at around the time that the teenage Shostakovich (now why is that such a hard image to conjure up?) took a job as a cinema pianist, playing for silent movies, though there seems to be some doubt as to whether he wrote the piece before or during that period. Whatever the case, it’s easy to imagine him dreaming up ‘film scenes’ as he wrote these dramatic episodes intercut with bursts of romantic longing. He dedicated the piece to Tatiana, a girl he had met the previous summer on holiday in the Crimea. His composing style is slightly wobbly, as if he couldn’t decide whether he was a heart-on-sleeve romantic or a grim sceptic, but it’s interesting to see him when he was still wondering which way to go.