Piano Trio No.1 in d minor, Op.107
Marco Enrico Bossi (1861-1925) was born in Sal˛, a town in Lombardy, into a family of musicians. His father was organist at Sal˛ Cathedral. He studied organ, piano and composition at the conservatories in Bologna and Milan. Among his teachers was Amilcare Ponchielli. Bossi enjoyed a career as an organ soloist but also as a music educator. He became a professor of organ and harmony at the Naples Conservatory, later serving as director of the conservatories in Venice, Bologna and Rome. He was responsible for establishing and implementing the standards of organ studies that are still used in Italy today. As a concert organist, he made numerous international organ recital tours, which brought him in contact with well-known colleagues such as CÚsar Franck and Camille Saint-SaŰns.
Only recently has his importance as a composer been recognized. Bossi wrote more than 150 works for various genres including orchestral works, operas, oratorios, and chamber music, as well as many pieces for piano and organ. His compositions are still largely unknown, except for his organ works. His Piano Trio No.1 in d minor, Op.107 was composed in 1896. It is in the tradition of the late Romantic movement, but also features episodes of what was then surely daring tonalities. It is a big work and shows his concern, perhaps taken from his training as an organist, for great sound surfaces as well as the large range of tonal color he presents. The opening movement, Allegro moderato, which begins with a loud piano flourish is an good example of this interest. The attractive main theme has a wayward lilting quality. Dramatic tension gradually builds to a climax which is quickly relaxed by the appearance of the lyrical seocnd theme. The sentimental second movement, Dialogo, Larghetto, combines a rich tonal palette with the fusion of Italian bel canto style and German romanticism. Next comes a Scherzo, vivace. It has combines a quirky rhythm with a kind of updated Mendelssohian dance of the goblins. The finale, Festoso, as the title suggests has a festive quality. The modern bouncy main theme playfully inserts mild dissonances here and there just to keep the listeners on their toes.
Writing in his Handbook for Piano Trio Players, Wilhelm Altmann calls this work "Noteworthy" and we agree. It is original and unusual combining early Italian modernism with late German romanticism. Out of print for may years, we are pleased to present it once again.