OLYMPUS PIANO TRIO | Mendelssohn, Ravel, Hatzis
Felix Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847)
Piano Trio in C minor, Op. 66
1. Allegro energico e fuoco (10:34)
2. Andante espressivo (6:48)
3. Scherzo. Molto allegro quasi presto (3:35)
4. Finale. Allegro appassionato (7:19)
Maurice Ravel (1875 – 1937)
Piano Trio in A Minor
5. Modéré (9:29)
6. Pantoum. Assez vite (4:38)
7. Passacaille. Très large (6:57)
8. Final. Animé (5:30)
Christos Hatzis (B. 1953)
9. “Odd World” from Constantinople (2000) (7:46)
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) was a child prodigy comparable to Mozart. His compositional style pays homage to the counterpoint, sacred settings and chorales of Bach, the classicism of Mozart and Haydn, the humanism and scope of Beethoven. Notably, the C minor piano trio’s finale begins in a fit of passion, later triumphantly juxtaposing that sentiment with the “Old 100th” Protestant hymn tune written in the year 1551.
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) was born in the Basque town of Ciboure, France. His Piano Trio in A minor (1914) was composed while at a Basque arts commune near his home in France, a mere 20 kilometers north of France’s border with Spain. The trio was completed in haste before Ravel enlisted in the military in 1915 during the onset of the First World War.
Ravel’s trio builds upon the traditional four movement sonata form structure developed by the German masters. The blending of various forms and styles is immediately apparent. The first movement’s opening rhythmic structure is based on a Basque dance, the zortziko. The trio’s second movement Pantoum is inspired by the pantun, a Malaysian poetic form. Ravel’s use of exotic elements is emblematic of a musical trend brought on by the technological revolution which preceded World War I; globalization spurred a cross pollination of musical styles, sounds and forms little known to European audiences. The last movement of Ravel’s trio combines the use of trills, harmonics, unique registration, and various virtuosic and extended techniques in novel ways, thereby revolutionizing the potential sound world and color palette of the piano trio.
Christos Hatzis (1953) is a Greek Canadian composer who is currently a professor at the University of Toronto. “Odd World” is a stand alone movement from a large scale multimedia work entitled Constantinople. The Olympus Piano Trio has performed Odd World at virtually all of our trio recitals. It is a work that, at times, is undeniably Greek! Performing it is a privilege and an artistic display of our shared Greek heritage. The Olympus Piano Trio continues to perform, support and advocate for the creation of new music by Greek and diaspora composers.
~ Ben Capps
Olympus Piano Trio
Regi Papa, violin – Ben Capps, cello – Konstantine Valianatos, piano
“Astounding, unique in every sense” (Athens Estia), praised for their “passionate commitment to
every note, incredibly velvety tone” (NY Concert Review). The award winning Olympus Piano Trio combines the forces of Regi Papa, Ben Capps and Konstantine Valianatos. Formed at Juilliard in 2010 to celebrate a passion for chamber music as well as their shared Hellenic heritage, the Olympus Piano Trio performs a repertoire of classical, romantic and modern masterpieces.
The Olympus Piano Trio won the Gold Medal at the Chamber Music Foundation of New England’s international competition in 2016. In the same year, the trio was also awarded the Silver Medal at the Yellow Springs Chamber Music Competition and the Silver Medal and Audience prizes at the Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition. The Olympus Trio has been heard in concert throughout the NYC metropolitan region. In 2015 the Trio had its Merkin Concert Hall debut, sponsored by the Onassis and Hellenic American cultural foundations, to critical acclaim. The trio has also performed throughout Greece at such venues as the National Conservatory in Thessalonica, Athens Megaro Concert Hall, and the Kefalonia Music Festival.
Each member of the Trio has an active career as performer in his own right. Violinist Regi Papa made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2006 with the Sibelius Violin Concerto, and has been a featured soloist with orchestras in the United States as well as abroad. Cellist Ben Capps is heard on stages internationally as a soloist as well as a chamber musician and is a recording artist on various labels and radio stations. Pianist Konstantine Valianatos is the recipient of numerous scholarships and prizes, including official recognition from the Hellenic Republic for his cultural contributions, and has appeared as featured soloist with orchestras in the United States and Greece.
Olympus supports the creation of new works by today’s composers, and is dedicated to the music of native Greek and diaspora composers. Based in New York City, the Olympus Piano Trio has studied with Jerome Lowenthal and Julian Martin at Juilliard, as well as the Emerson Quartet’s Philip Setzer. The members of the trio have held teaching assistantships at Juilliard and SUNY Stony Brook, as well as a position Hunter College, and have recorded for Sony, Innova, LP Classics and Tzadik labels.
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