Carl Friedrich Abel
Piano Trio in C Major, Op.9 No.2
Carl Friedrich Abel (1723-1787) was born in the German town of Köthen. Like his father, he became a prominent viola da gamba and cello player. He served in the Dresden court orchestra from 1749-59 before moving to London where he was appointed chamber-musician to the Queen. He was a close friend of Johann Christian Bach and the two of them founded the famous Bach-Abel concerts, England's first subscription concerts. In those concerts, many important works, such as the Symphonies of Haydn received their English premiere.
Abel's piano trios or trio sonatas as they were then known (Haydn called his first piano trios sonatas) served as models for later composers such as Haydn and Mozart who eventually created the modern piano trio. Op.9 No.2 is part of a set of six trio sonatas originally for violin, cello and figured bass (fortepiano or harpsichord) which were composed in 1771 and self-published by Abel in 1772. These trios were relatively short and generally in two movements. Op.9 No.2 has a Moderato for its first movement and a Tempo di Menuetto for its second. (our soundbite is from the first movement) Though the Op.9 trios were not technically difficult, they were extremely well written and clearly meant for public performance. Abel's treatment of the cello as an equal to the violin anticipates Beethoven and is in advance of both Haydn and Mozart, who gave the cello a lesser part in their trios.
As such, this trio is not only historically important but on its own pleasing to play and hear. Our edition is based on Abel's own London publication.