Piano Trio in c minor, Op.5
Max Bruch (1838-1920) enjoyed a long and fruitful career as a composer, conductor and teacher. He studied with Ferdinand Hiller and his talent was recognized early on by Schumann and Ignaz Moscheles. Today, Bruch is primarily remembered for his fine violin concertos and his choral works. However, as the esteemed chamber music scholar Wilhelm Altmann notes, Bruch's chamber music is beautiful and deserving of performance.
Max Bruch's Piano Trio was written in his youth when Mendelssohn was his guiding light. It was composed when he was but 19 years of age in 1859. It is not in typical form, beginning as it does with an Andante molto cantabile, rather than a fast movement. The music clearly demonstrates, even at this early stage, that Bruch was particularly fond of melodies of nobility and capable of producing great beauty of tone in his writing. The second movement, Allegro assai, is played immediately afterward without any pause. Its main theme is lyrical and the music is in the nature of an intermezzo rather than a scherzo. The finale, a Presto, begins with a powerful series of chords before the thrusting main theme takes over. Power and drama characterize this fine movement.
Altmann especially recommends this trio to amateur groups but wrote that it also deserves concert performance. Either been out of print or difficult to obtain for the past several decades, we have reprinted the original Breitkopf edition but have added rehearsal numbers so that it may be more easily navigated by players.