By Aria Marizza
Off the Hook Arts launched its Garden Concert Series this spring with the captivating Emil Trio. Off the Hook Arts has been committed to bridging the gap between artists and their audiences through performances, and the Emil Trio was the perfect group to do so. The Trio comprises cellist Joshua Halpern, violinist Nathan Meltzer, and pianist Yannick Rafalimanana. They are passionate about bringing under-appreciated composers to the forefront, establishing a genuine connection with their audience, and immersing them in the complete musical and storytelling experience.
At the Garden Concert Series soft opening, the Trio performed a concert focused on composer Maurice Ravel’s Tombeau de Couperin, which included an insightful history of Ravel as a composer and the melancholic inspiration behind the piece. Ravel’s singular piano trio was written in a burst of inspiration just before he enlisted to fight in World War I, reflecting the exuberance and optimism of a man untouched by the horrors to come. Three years later, Ravel emerged from the war a changed man, having suffered physical and mental trauma and having lost his mother. During this time, he composed the Tombeau de Couperin, a poignant tribute to the friends he lost and the struggles he endured.
The Emil Trio’s program seeks to capture both sides of Ravel’s experience, highlighting the youthful enthusiasm of his piano trio alongside the grief and loss of the Tombeau de Couperin. The concert pays tribute to the countless composers whose voices were silenced by the war, including William Baines, Rudi Stephan, and Albéric Magnard.
The interplay between the violin, cello, and piano was seamless. Evidently, the Emil Trio deeply understood each other’s playing styles. As the concert progressed, they took the audience on a musical journey that evoked so much emotion the audience could hear and feel at its core. The Emil Trio played each piece with such passion and intensity that it was impossible not to be moved by the music; it was as if they were speaking a language that transcended words, and the audience could understand it perfectly.
The 2023 Garden Concert Series will have many more unforgettable experiences in the coming months. The next concert in the series will take place May 6th, featuring the Gabriel Marvin Trio and Alicia Jo Straka. This jazz-and-polka-centered concert and wine reception will begin at 12:30 pm, and tickets are currently available here.