Trio (1949) by Galina Ustvol'skaya
for clarinet, violin, and piano

Speaking of her Clarinet Trio of 1949, the composer said: "all my music from this work onwards is 'spiritual' in nature". Galina Ustvol'skaya was just 30 when she wrote her Clarinet Trio in 1949 and it is often referred to as her best work. It has been described a tortuous, ascetic statement using tension and density to convey a large-scale intent, a style that continued in the music she wrote fifty years later in her own solitary underground retreat in St. Petersburg. The opening clarinet melody exhibits the influence of her teacher Dmitri Shostakovich in the slow-moving, semi-tonal, sparsely expressive lines and yet establishes Ustvol'skaya's formidable independent voice as the piece becomes grittier. In the third movement, Ustvol'skaya's characteristic note-against-note counterpoint and explosive repeated notes allows the secondary "folk" tune to sound natural.

[from program for May 21, 2007 concert]