Piano Trio in f minor, Op.26
Critics at the time called Jacques Blumenthal's Piano Trio in f minor "Mendelssohn's Third" and indeed the trio is a very Mendelssohnian work. However, it is not an imitation. Superbly written for all of the instruments with fetching melodies, it is hard to understand why this fine work did not enter the repertoire. The trio was premiered in 1853 in Paris at the famous Friday 'Salon Concerts' at the Louvre where it made a considerable impression upon critics and audience alike. The opening movement, Allegro con fuoco, opens with a somber theme which increases in tension as it develops. For his second theme, Blumenthal borrows a melody from one of Mendelssohnís trio and it can be said that in some ways, this trio might be called Mendelssohnís Third. The lyrical second movement, Andante, is a lovely song without words. A scherzo, Presto, comes next. One can almost here the Mendelssohnian elves dancing about. It is full of charm and elegantly executed. The finale, Allegro molto, also recalls Mendelssohn with its appealing melody and driving forward propulsion which keeps the excitement from start to finish.
Born in Hamburg in a neighborhood not far from where Mendelssohn had been born two decades before, Jacques Blumenthal (1829-1908) began his piano studies there with Friedrich Grund and then in Vienna studied composition with Simon Sechter before entering the Paris Conservatory where he continued his studies with Henri Herz and Fromental Halťvy. In 1848 Blumenthal settled in London, where he became the pianist to Queen Victoria. The position contributed to his demand as a teacher in London society, His duties were light and he was able also to pursue a career as a soloist. Most of his works were for piano and this trio is his only large scale chamber work.
We have reprinted the original 1853 edition which unfortunately was not made with the best of ink, typical of French publishers of the time. As such, staff lines have faded in several places. We have spent hours darking them and have added rehearsal letters which the original did not have to make a serviceable performance edition and recommend it to amateurs and professionals alike. We offer it at slightly less than our already low standard price for piano trios.