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Welcome to our Blog, The Chamber Music News!  Our bi-monthly blog presents interesting articles about the music we publish, in more detail than you will find on the individual page. We hope that you will enjoy it, let us know. And, if you would like to see an article about a particular subject (related to what we publish) send us an email at


September / October 2017


The String Trios of William Shield

William Shield (1748-1829) was born near Stalwell, county Durham, and trained as a violinist. Later, he studied composition with Charles Avison in Newcastle upon Tyne. In 1772, he was employed as principle violist at the Covent Garden Opera. He knew most of the important composers resident in or passing through London, including Haydn. Shield's works include a large number of operas and other stage works. He was known for his light operas. His Op.3 string quartets, composed in the 1780s, were considered the finest written by a native English composer in the 18th century.

He wrote two sets of three string trios each which appeared without opus numbers, the first in 1792, the second in 1796. They are mostly written in concertante style  The melodies are more memorable and make a lasting impression. All of the trios are relatively short works, but are well-written with a string player’s understanding of what each instrument can do. While it would not be fair to compare them to Mozart’s K.563 Divertimento, it is fair to say that they are certainly as good, if not better, than the trios of Haydn, Of note is the fact that the lower voices are given better parts than Haydn gives them. Altogether pleasant works, well worth hearing and playing. A brief survey of some of these trios follows

Trio No.1 is in three movements and concertante style, showing the influence of the Mannheim school of the Johann and Carl Stamitz as well as his friend Haydn. The work opens with an Allegro followed by a Largo. The title to the final movement is quite interesting and shows that Shield was attracted to, what was then, the exotic. The marking is Giuoco, alla Sclavonia-Tempo straniere con variazione—roughly, playful in the foreign Slavonic manner. Actually, it is a modified Polacca. Trio No.2 is in three movements and concertante style, showing the influence of the Mannheim school of the Johann and Carl Stamitz as well as his friend Haydn. The work opens with a bright Allegro followed by a deeply felt Molto adagio and closes with upbeat Rondeau allegro. Trio No.3 opens with an Allegro followed by an lively Andante grazioso and closes with stately dance Un Giuoco. Trio No.5 is in three movements and concertante style, showing the influence of the Mannheim school of the Johann and Carl Stamitz as well as his friend Haydn. The work opens with an atmospheric Largo e sostenuto and followed an inventive Tempo di Ciaccona.

A third set of three trios followed some 15 years later. During this time, Shield had traveled widely on the continent. And in these trios, one can hear what Shield learned while abroad. For example, in Trio No.8, he uses a Siciliano in the second movement, if not the first, certainly one of the first uses by an English composer. Then, in Trio No.9 the last movement is a waltz. Although by 1811, the waltz had been become popular in Vienna and parts of Germany, it did not make its appearance in England until 1812 at which time it was attacked by critics as an “indecent foreign dance.”


You can hear soundbites from each movement on our website and if you desire purchase the parts from Edition Silvertrust by clicking on the links above.



String Qts Dedicated to Haydn-Part 1---March 2012

String Qts Dedicated to Haydn-Part 2---April 2012

3 New Beethoven Quartets?---May 2012

Hermann Berens String Trios---June 2012

2nd MovBruckner Str Qnt too hard---July 2012

Arriaga The Spanish Mozart---August 2012

Wikmanson]s String Quartets---September 2012

Dubois' Piano Trios---October 2012

Trios for Clarinet, Cello & Piano---Nov / Dec 2012

Bargiel Piano Trios---January / February 2013

John Antes String Trios---March / April 2013

Jan Levoslav Bella Chamber Music---May / June 2013

Cecile Chaminade Piano Trio---July / August 2013

Emil Sjogren Violin & Piano Works---Sept / Oct 2013

Anton Arensky's String Quartets---Nov / Dec 2013

Wolf-Ferrari's Piano Trios---January / February 2014

Wilhelm Kienzl's String Quartets---March / April 2014

Friedrich Kiel's Piano Quintets---May / June 2014

Giuseppe Martucci's Piano Trios---July / August 2014

Ignacy Dobrzynski's String Quintets---Sept / Oct 2014

Juliuz Zarbeski Piano Quintet---Nov / Dec 2014

Ferd David Bunte Reihe for Vln & Pno---Jan / Feb 2015

Robert Fuchs-The Serenades---Mar / April 2015

Friedrich Gernsheim's String Qts---May / June 2015

Robert Kahn's Piano Trios---July / August 2015

J.M. Weber's Aus Meinem Leben---Sept / Oct 2015

Heinrich v Herzogenberg's Str Trios----Nov / Dec 2015

Eugen d'Albert's String Quartets---Jan / Feb 2016

Survey of Piano Piano Sextets---March / April 2016

Alexander Boëly String Trios---May / June 2016

Robert Volkman's Piano Trios---July / August 2016

Eduard Franck's String Sextets---Sept / Oct 2016

Hugo Wolf Works for String Quartet--Nov / Dec 2016

Alexander Fesca's Piano Septets--Jan / Feb 2017

Richard Franck's Piano Qts--March / Apr 2017

Alex Taneyev String Qts--May / June 2017

Huberl Parry Piano Trios--July / August 2017