[Originally posted at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra blogs] We achieved one of those major milestones in parenting this weekend. Leaving baby with a caregiver not related to us. ( Yes, we did check in during the course of the afternoon). The occasion, a PSO concert of pieces by Beethoven featuring the Eroica Trio playing the Triple concerto, as we were reminded by a mailer a couple weeks before.
I have a recording of the Triple Concerto at home. And I've been asked why I would go to a concert when I have a recording of some of the greats. And there is something to be said about the fact that every performance is unique. But there is also the fact that there is more to a piece than the notes written by the composer. There is the interpretation of the work. And when you have a group like the Eroica Trio who have been playing together for decade you get the collective interpretation of the work.
With in the first minute of the first movement I was hearing aspects of the piece I have never heard before. A good part of this can be attributed to Honeck balancing out the orchestra so that the right part has focus at any point in time. But another part of it is probably due to the fact that the Eroica Trio has played together for so long. The recording I have is by three acclaimed musicians with another world class orchestra. But the three soloists are known as soloists, not as an ensemble. And there is a difference between musicians playing together and musicians who know each other playing a single piece. It shows in the way the Eroica Trio could play off each other, more a conversation of old friends rather then a few technicians working together. And it felt more that we were privileged to bear witness to it more than just being in an audience.
When I was in graduate school I had remarked to a pianist friend that I thought a duet she was performing probably could only be mastered by pianists who were family members, because there was so much potential in how the parts worked with each other that could not be expressed by performers who knew each other in passing. This weekend's performance is the reward of having artists playing together who not only know their craft, but each other.