Piano Trio in f sharp minor, Op.1
Christian Barnekow (1837-1913) was born in Copenhagen, the son of a Danish nobleman. His musical talent was discovered early and he was given piano and organ lessons. The pressure put on him to be a great virtuoso led to a nervous breakdown and the end of a plan for such a career. Instead, he turned to composition. He was most comfortable writing for smaller ensembles and besides this trio, wrote a string quartet, a string quintet, two piano quartets, a piano quintet, a piano sextet and several art songs.
The Piano Trio in f sharp minor, dates from 1861 and though it bears the opus number of 1, it was hardly his first work. The opening Allegro begins in a stormy turbulent fashion and immediately demands the listener's attention. In between the violent outbursts, the lovely writing for the strings is especially apparent. Echoes of Schubert hover over the proceedings. The delicate second movement, Andante con moto, is a gorgeous 'song without words' in the Mendelssohnian tradition. This is then followed by a muscular scherzo, Vivace. The scale passages and air of restlessness recall Schumann. The finale, Allegro con brio, combines a rustling unease with dramatic and romantic interludes of great intensity.
Here is another fine work that would certainly be be in the piano trio repertoire if it had been penned by someone famous. Out of print for more than a century, it is our hope that professionals and amateurs will make a place for this excellent work on their music stands.