String Trio No.1 in G Major
Cherubini's String Trio No.1 in G Major was originally one of several teaching works he contributed to the Solfèges pour sevir à l'étude dan le Conservatoire de Musique. This was a massive two volume set of exercises and pieces for singing students created toward the end of the 18th century. It was so valuable that it became famous throughout France where it is still used today. There were several contributors, including Cherubini who produced 15 such works, including two three part solfeggi. A solfeggio is a singing exercise in which the names of the scale, sol and fa are used instead of text. This method, based originally on polyphonic singing, is still used at the Paris Conservatory for both singers and instrumentalists as it is thought that instruments are merely an extension of the voice. It is still in print, though not in its entirety, and parts of it are even available online. This three part work by Cherubini is numbered 83 in the second volume. Our editors have transcribed it for string trio, but it could just as easily have been transcribed for nearly any set of three instruments. The work begins Lent, severe and deeply felt. The second movement, Allegro moderato, is an upbeat fugue. The part writing is excellent and is an example of why Cherubini was, during his lifetime, universally held in high regard.
Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842) was born Florence. He studied at the conservatories in Bologna and Milan and remained in Italy until 1788 when he moved to Paris, where he lived for the rest of his life. He made his name as a composer of opera, but by 1805 Parisian tastes had changed and the heavy, serious operas that he, Gluck and others had been writing fell out of fashion. Cherubini then turned to religious and instrumental music. He served as director of the Paris Conservatory from 1822 until his death and was regarded as one of France's leading musicians. Beethoven in 1817 wrote that he considered Cherubini the greatest living composer.
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