Archive for March, 2007

Mendelssohn, Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor, Op. 66

Sunday, March 11th, 2007

Felix Mendelssohn, 1809-1847

Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor, Op. 66, 1845

Schumann described Mendelssohn as “the Mozart of the nineteenth century”, an apt label considering the classical qualities of Mendelssohn’s music within a period dominated by Romanticism. He wrote expertly crafted music of charm and polish with a masterful control of texture and form achieving superb clarity and balance. Mendelssohn is frequently regarded as a conservative. Some consider that he did not live up to his potential. Such assessments have not stopped Mendelssohn from becoming one of the most beloved composers of all time. An ample portion of his mature chamber music is continuously celebrated in the standard repertory with his two piano trios high on the list. Perhaps less popular than his first, (more…)

Dvořák, Piano Trio in B-flat Major, Op. 21

Sunday, March 11th, 2007

Antonín Dvořák, 1841-1904

Piano Trio in B-flat Major, Op. 21, 1875

Antonín DvořákDvořák’s earliest surviving Piano Trio in B-flat major, Op. 21 offers an opportunity for discovery. He wrote six piano trios all together. The first two were discarded; Dvořák deemed them unworthy for posterity. Of the four that remain, only the last is widely celebrated: the “Dumky” Piano Trio in E minor, Op. 90. The third trio, in F minor, is dense and serious with Dvořák somewhat uncharacteristically striving towards a Germanic formalism. It is reminiscent of Brahms who was a friend, a champion of Dvořák’s music and, for a period, a musical influence. (more…)

Haydn, Piano Trio in e minor, Hob. XV:12

Sunday, March 11th, 2007

Joseph Haydn, 1732-1809

Piano Trio in e minor, Hob. XV:12, 1788

Joseph HaydnHaydn’s music often seems so intuitive, direct and clear that it speaks much more succinctly than any words. Like many of the forty-five or so delightful works Haydn wrote in the genre, the Piano Trio in E minor beautifully speaks for itself. But there is something to explore in the mere scraps of nomenclature and categorization that cluster around a classical work like non-musical ciphers. The exercise reveals a few surprises.

“Piano Trio” seems obvious enough, but in fact, Haydn more often used a title like “Sonata for piano with accompaniments for a violin and a cello” or simply “Sonata”. (more…)