String Trio in C Major, Op.5 No.2
For Violin, Viola & Cello
This is the second of a set of three Beethoven-inspired string trios which BoŽly composed in 1808. Beethoven's 1799 Op.9 trios served as his example. That Beethoven served as his model was quite extraordinary for this was at a time when Beethoven and his music were entirely unknown in France and virtually no else, with the exception of the unknown Hyacinthe Jadin, was writing string trios.
Alexandre BoŽly (1785-1858) was clearly an extraordinary man who truly marched to his own drum beat. Such independence of thought and taste led to his losing a prestigious position as an organist in one of France's leading churches for championing the music of Bach. Today, BoŽly is remembered as one of France's greatest organists from the first half of the 19th century. He was born at Versailles into a family of musicians. He excelled on the organ and piano and most of his compositions are for these instruments. However, he did write five string trios and four string quartets, which are among his most interesting works.
The opening bars of the first movement, Allegro, have a formal quality to them which brings the opening of Beethoven's Op.18 No.2 to mind, however, by the fourth bar, BoŽly departs onto his own melodic path. The lovely second theme is lyrical while driven forward by the pulsing accompaniment in the cello. The slow movement, Adagio, which follows, is leisurely but has an air of mystery to it. The theme of the third movement, Minuetto, Allegretto, depends more on rhythm than its melodic line and is presented in canonic form. The opening bars of the finale, a Presto, bring the finale movement of Beethoven's Op.18 No.3 to mind, but again BoŽly gives the material a different treatment.
Here is another work from the late classical and early romantic period which will certainly be a welcome addition to the string trio repertoire.