Archive for November, 2005

Beethoven, Trio in B-flat Major, Op. 11

Sunday, November 20th, 2005

Ludwig van Beethoven 1770-1827

Trio in B-flat Major, Op. 11, 1798

Ludwig van BeethovenAfter the string quartet, the most prominent ensemble in the chamber music repertoire is the piano trio comprising the intimate but powerful combination of piano, cello and violin. Haydn established the genre with numerous outstanding trios, inaugurating a tradition that has engaged nearly every notable composer from Mozart to such contemporaries as John Harbison and Bright Sheng. Never to be outdone, Beethoven wrote six major piano trios beginning with the set of three he deemed worthy enough to claim his first published opus number. Between the Op. 1 piano trios and the three masterpieces of his maturity, Beethoven wrote his charming piano trio, Op. 11, originally scored for clarinet, cello and piano (more…)

Quantz, Trio Sonata in G Major

Sunday, November 20th, 2005

Johann Joachim Quantz, 1697-1773

Trio Sonata in G Major

Johann Joachim QuantzBaroque music in the early 18th century began to feature wind instruments in chamber music, particularly the new “German” or transverse flute. Johann Joachim Quantz was its leading exponent; he was known across Europe as the greatest flute virtuoso, composer and theorist. In addition to his copious musical output, which included hundreds of sonatas, quartets and concerti, Quantz published the most important treatise on flute performance practice, Essay on Playing the Flute, in 1752. The essay was valued not only for its specific technical instruction, but also for its general guidance on musical style, taste and ornamentation. (more…)

Françaix, Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano

Sunday, November 20th, 2005

Jean Françaix, 1912-1997

Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano, 1994

Jean FrançaixJean Françaix was a modern French composer very much in the Neo-Classical tradition of Poulenc: he eschewed the trends of atonality and the rejection of traditional form, choosing wit, color and a supple lightness in the service of producing musical “pleasure.” Prolific throughout his life, Françaix was a piano virtuoso, an active performer, a skilled orchestrator and a composer in myriad forms and ensembles. As was characteristic of many great French composers, Françaix had a skillful penchant for the wind instruments. A relatively recent work, his Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano was commissioned by the International Double Reed Society for their 24th Festival in 1994. (more…)

Poulenc, Trio for Piano, Oboe and Bassoon

Sunday, November 20th, 2005

Francis Poulenc, 1899-1963

Trio for Piano, Oboe and Bassoon, 1926

Francis PoulencA native Parisian, Francis Poulenc associated with the most creative and experimental figures of that legendary time in the 1920’s that incubated the chief modernist trends of the early 20th century. Poulenc was part of the informal group of French composers known as “Les Six” whose agenda was to consciously craft a new music separate from the dominance of Germanic Romanticism, the intellectualisms of Schoenberg and the pat associations with Impressionism. Embracing clarity, simplicity, wit and even parody, they refined a genre influenced by Stravinsky and Satie called Neo-classicism. (more…)