Five composers experimented at the start of their careers with the challenging form that is the piano trio. These early works showcase numerous characteristics that would later define their musical style.
Writing a piano trio is a challenge for any composer. The repertoire is already rich with countless masterpieces. In addition, striking the right balance between the unique but formidable combination of the tonal colours of the piano and strings makes the trio a tough taskmaster.
Although the pieces in this programme are part of each composer’s early works, certain typical characteristics of their later styles are already audible. In Jean Sibelius’ Trio in C Major, we hear the first signs of the narrative style of his future orchestral works.
Sergei Rachmaninoff’s first Elegiac Trio, written in 1892 when he was 19, pays homage to his mentor, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Despite his youth, Rachmaninoff showcases a mature range of tonal colours in the piano part.
Dmitri Shostakovich wrote his first Piano Trio at the age of 17. This one-movement trio was dedicated to Tatjana Glivienko and originally entitled ‘Poème’, and it is no less rich in tempos and characters.
This programme is also a chance to discover two lesser-known composers. The Belgian composer Gillis Sacré wrote Sursum for the Khaldei Trio in 2015.
Gaspar Cassadó was a famous Catalan cellist of the first half of the 20th Century, who studied composition with Maurice Ravel. He composed a brilliantly virtuoso trio, influenced by earlier Spanish models, but revealing great panache and considerable demands via guitar imitations, malagueña rhythms and lashings of folkloric brio.