Piano Trio No.2 in E flat Major, Op.20
The 1861 review of Bargiel's Piano Trio No.2 in the prestigious Neue Zeitschrift für Musik stated, "Since Robert Schumann's piano trios, Bargiel's Op.20 is, in my opinion, the most important such work known to me from this period and I know practically all the trios by Volkmann, Rubinstein, Berwald and Reinecke and so on up to X, Y and Z." Strong praise indeed from the mid-19th century high oracle of German Music.
Woldemar Bargiel (1828-97) was Clara Schumann’s half brother. Throughout their lives, they enjoyed a warm relationship and thanks to Clara, Bargiel was introduced to both Robert Schumann and Felix Mendelssohn who encouraged him to study at the famous Leipzig Conservatory with two of the leading men of music: Ignaz Moscheles (piano) and Niels Gade (composition). Bargiel held positions at the conservatories in Cologne and Rotterdam before accepting a position at the prestigious Hochschule fur Musik in Berlin where he taught for the rest of his life. Among his many students were Paul Juon and Leopold Godowsky. While Bargiel did not write a lot of music, most of what he composed was well thought out and shows solid musical craftsmanship. His chamber music—he wrote four string quartets, a string octet and three piano trios—represents an important part of his output.
Bargiel’s Piano Trio No.2 in E flat Major, Op.20 consists of four movements. The big first movement, Allegro moderato, begins with a leisurely theme of heroic tones. The second theme, introduced by the piano is darker. The quiet and reflective theme of the following Andante takes its time, like a flower in the sun, unfolding the leaves of its melody. When restated in dramatic fashion, it assumes the guise of a dignified march. A ghostly Scherzo, molto allegro, comes next. Heavily syncopated, it brings forth a spooky atmosphere. Bargiel begins the finale with a long Andante poco adagio introduction which builds suspense and leads to the impression of something unhappy impending. However, the main part of the movement, Allegro, is both joyous and affirming. (our sound-bite starts with the Allegro) It, too, has a heroic quality.
This is a very satisfying work, it will be at home in the concert hall as well as on the stands of amateur chamber music lovers. Long out of print, our edition is a reprint of the first and only edition, however, we have added rehearsal numbers and corrected those mistakes of which we were aware.