Trio for the Beginning of Time by Associate Professor Tod Machover received its world premiere performance by FirstWorks IV on New Year's Eve at the First and Second Church on Marlborough Street in Boston.
The 25-minute piece was commissioned for the occasion by pianist Donald Berman, artistic director of FirstWorks. Professor Machover was asked to create a work to be played on a First Night program with Olivier Messaien's celebrated Quartet for the End of Time, written in a Nazi prison camp in 1940. Mr. Berman was joined in performing Trio by cellist Jennifer Lucht and violinist Sarah Roth.
In program notes, Professor Machover said Trio was based on music from his opera Resurrection, which in turn was based on Leo Tolstoy's last novel, published in 1899. The opera had its premier performance last spring at the Houston Grand Opera.
"As in the opera, the piece moves from a brooding, turbulent opening to moments of inner reflection and calm, building to an energetic and optimistic -- if slightly ambigious -- finale," Professor Machover wrote. "The music is virtuosic and complex in texture, although (pretty much) always tuneful and tonal."
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 12, 2000.