Beethoven and Brahms - early piano trios
Søndag 30. april 2017
Encore Piano Trio: Eirik Haug Stømner (piano), Patrycja Blaszak (fiolin), Marek Bienkunski (cello)
Ludwig van Beethoven: Pianotrio i c-moll, op.1 nr 3
I. Allegro con brio
II. Andante cantabile con variazioni
III. Menuetto. Quasi Allegro
IV. Finale. Prestissimo
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Johannes Brahms: Pianotrio nr 1, op. 8 i H-dur
I. Allegro con brio – Tranquillo – In tempo ma sempre sostenuto
II. Scherzo: Allegro molto – Meno allegro – Tempo primo
IV. Finale: Allegro
Early piano trios by Beethoven and Brahms
Tonight’s concert programme consists two works written by merely 20 - years old composers - and even though both works were revised in later opuses by composers themselves - there is a spirit of young, vigorous and restless minds.
Piano trio in C minor by Beethoven (1793) is number 3 from composer’s first opus. Dedicated for Prince Karl Lichnovsky, the cycle was Beethoven’s debut in Viennese musical environment. Even though nr. 3 was composer’s favourite from the whole set, his mentor Joseph Haydn advised him not to publish it, worrying about audience’s opinion. Number 3 indeed is outstanding: it is filled with “heroic”, narrative character typical for Beethoven’s middle period. Unlike the third movements of the E flat and G major trios, the one from C minor trio is labeled Menuetto, not Scherzo, even though strong scherzando feeling is still involved. There is a clear symphonic potential visible in the piece which, all together, might have seem too progressive for Haydn. Therefore Beethoven delayed publishing the set until 1795, and it was a big success - the critics from resp ectable Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung described the set of piano trios as “strong, powerful, and moving." Musical material of piano trio in C minor appeared one more time: revised as String Quintet op. 104, apparently still appreciated by mature, 47 - years old Beethoven.
Changes that Brahms made 35 years after first publication of his Piano Trio nr 1 op. 8 in B-major were big enough to publish it again, and therefore Brahms B major trio from 1854 (and 1890) is composer’s only work to exist today in two published versions: one composed by 21-, another by 56 - years old composer. In his revision from 1890, the first subject in first movement, Allegro con brio – Tranquillo – In tempo ma sempre sostenuto, became counterpoised by a more delicate anacrustic second theme in G♯ minor. Composer decided to leave presentation of the theme to piano and cello, removing violin’s ornamental voice. Brahms did not change much in second movement - the only two changes are doubling of the climactic trio melody in the cello, and slightly reworking the coda.
In third movement, Adagio, in the first version, a different second theme was used - a quotation from Franz Schubert 's Am Meer. After revising Brahms felt that his own theme can be applied instead.
Brahms altered the most between the two versions of Finale: Allegro, with the cello's original smooth second theme in F♯ major - pos sible allusion to Beethoven's Nimm sie denn hin, meine Lieder from An die ferne Geliebte , also quoted in Schumann's Fantasie Op. 17 —being replaced by a more vigorous arpeggiated piano theme in D major. On September 3, 1889 Brahms wrote to Clara Schumann: "With what childish amusement I whiled away the beautiful summer days you will never guess. I have rewritten my B major Trio.... It will not be as wild as before - but will it be better?"