Monday, November 25, 2013

Morelia Music Festival: Why the Vienna Piano Trio Played in the Cathedral

During the Morelia Music Festival, this distinguished trio would have played in the large patio of the Palacio Municipal, an excellent venue for chamber music. But as large signs nearby proclaimed, the city workers (Sindicato Democratico de Empleados Municipales) were on strike.

The Vienna Piano Trio talking to the press before they knew what lay ahead
No one could enter the locked doors of the City Building, whether to complete a tramite or to attend a concert. Stefan Mendle, the pianist; Bogdan Bozovic (violin) and Matthias Gredler (cello) would play in the Cathedral.
Although the nave must be a wonderful space for the Morelia Organ Festival, it is much less so for chamber music.

For a half hour past the scheduled time for the concert to start, the trio members were still playing for the sound technicians while the audience chatted. Finally, with no primera llamada, segunda llamada, tercera llamada sequence, the Festival Director, Sergio Vela, stood up to tell the audience the concert was about to begin, but found he was talking into a dead microphone!

The musicians bravely played the Mozart trio that came first on the program despite sound that would have pained Mozart. I felt sorry for these world-class musicians and of course it was disappointing for those of us in the audience.

More troubles than expected
Somehow, things came together for Schoenberg's Transfigured Night (whether because of the nature of the music or because there was another tweak to the sound system, I'm not sure). After the trio Schubert wrote the year before he died concluded the concert, the audience brought the players back several times, with the trio concluding the evening by playing a piece by the non-Viennese composer, St. Saens.

One final note (pun intended): The Festival, with Patzcuaro businessmen as patrons, scheduled a free performance for the Piano Trio in a Patzcuaro church. There everything did go well for the musicians and their audience at this first-time venture extending the Festival beyond Morelia.