Brahms: Sonata for Clarinet and Piano in E-flat Major
Elena Firsova: Quartet for the Time of Grief (premiere)
Beethoven: Piano Trio No 1 in E-flat Major
Dmitri Smirnov: Abel
The great emotions come into play as clarinetist Jonas Frølund, violinist Christine Pryn, cellist John Ehde, and pianist Manuel Esperilla perform music by Brahms and Beethoven, as well as the musical power couple Elena Firsova and Dmitri Smirnov.
In the summer of 2019, they were in Denmark to hear the premieres of their respective quartets written for the Rudersdal Chamber Players. Eight months later, Dmitri died as one of the early victims of the pandemic.
Now, Elena has composed another piece for the Rudersdal Chamber Players titled 'Quartet for the Time of Grief.' Through the music, she expresses the profound sorrow over the loss of Dmitri, whom she was married to for 49.5 years. Their marriage was not only a partnership but also a close and extraordinary collaboration in the world of music, where they were each other's trusted sparring partners.
They met at the Moscow Conservatory and were both blacklisted by the Soviet regime because they had found success in the West. In 1991, they moved to England, from where they both had an international career - most recently, Yefim Bronfman and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra premiered Elena's piano concerto.
The new homeland's culture became a great inspiration, and Dmitri had a special fondness for William Blake. Rudersdal Chamber Players will perform his 'Abel' for clarinet and piano trio, inspired by Blake's painting of the fleeing Cain and Adam and Eve by their dead son's body.
The two quartets are surrounded by classics from the chamber music treasure trove. In Beethoven's fresh and inviting Piano Trio No. 1 opus 1, you can already feel his originality and desire to challenge the conventions of his time. Jonas Frølund and Manuel Esperilla will also perform Brahms' heartfelt Clarinet Sonata in E-flat major, showcasing his special ability to combine the lyrical with underlying drama."