Piano Trio No.1 in g minor, Op.11
Cecile Chaminade (1857-1944) studied privately with some of France’s best composers and pianists including Benjamin Godard. Unfortunately, she like many others, suffered from an unfair prejudice against women composers. But some, such as Ambrose Thomas, composer of the opera Mignon, recognized her talent. Upon hearing an orchestral work of the 18 year old Chaminade, he remarked, “This is no woman composer, this is a composer who happens to be a woman."
Primarily a concert pianist, Chaminade wrote over 200 works for piano and toured the world to considerable acclaim performing them.
Piano Trio No.1 in g minor, Op.11 dates from 1881. In four movements, it begins with a flowing and slightly agitated Allegro. There is some affinity to the early chamber music works of Faure but she also shows a cognizance of Brahms. The Andante which follows is a Schumannesque lied. Next comes a racing Presto leggiero in the manner of a scherzo. The brilliant opening theme in the piano is very French and updated in feel, the lovely lyrical second theme played by the strings provides excellent contrast. The finale, Allegro molto agitato shows the influence of Godard as well as traditional central European musical thought. It is big but not overly long and brings this satisfying work to a suitable conclusion. This trio is very well-written, the piano neither overpowers nor out-plays the strings. It is a unified whole.
Here is a work that not only deserves its day in the concert hall but will be of great pleasure to amateurs.