Trio in E flat Major for Violin, Horn (or Cello) & Piano
Carl Czerny's Trio in E flat Major for Violin, Horn & Piano owes its existence to his friendship with the Czech hornist Johann Janatka. Though born in Vienna, Czerny was an ethnic Czech who grew up speaking Czech and only learned to speak German around the age of 10. Vienna had always been a magnet for musicians throughout Europe and especially for those from Bohemia, men such as Franz Krommer, Paul and Anton Wranitzky, Leopold Kozeluch to name but a few of the more famous. There was also a hornist, one Johann Janatka, principal horn at the Theatre an der Wien and one of the leading horn solists in Vienna during the 1820’s. Most likely because of their shared ethnicity he and Janatka became friends and Czerny hit on the idea of writing a trio for violin, horn and piano, which he completed in 1827. Czerny, Janatka and the violinist Joseph Mayseder performed it at a private gathering two years before it was published by the Berlin firm of Schlesinger in 1830. Because of the limited sales that a work for such such a novel ensemble would have—–Czerny’s was the first such composition for a formal trio—–Schlesinger insisted that Czerny supply a cello part in lieu of the horn. Czerny did so and Schlesinger brought out a set of parts, titling the work Grand Trio for Piano and Strings. But it was in its original format for violin, horn and piano that the work became known and it is thought that it may well have served as a model for Brahms. It is in three substantial movements. The opening Allegro features broad melodies in the violin and horn while the piano is given much quicker moving lines. It is clear that Czerny intended the work for himself or a player of his ability level. The middle movement is an intensely felt Adagio with lovely passages in all three voices. The work concludes with a lively, toe-tapping and quite playful Rondo, allegro scherzando.
Carl Czerny (1791-1857) is remembered as one of the most famous piano teachers of all time. He was a child prodigy. When Beethoven heard Czerny play, he invited the boy to study with him, which Czerny did for three years. He also studied with Muzio Clementi and Johann Nepomuk Hummel. Besides being Liszt's only real teacher, Czerny taught a host of other famous pianists. Today, the only music of Czerny's which is ever played are his pedagogical works for pianists such as his etudes and his famous Art of Finger Dexterity and his School of Velocity. But Czerny composed over 1000 works in virtually every genre although most were for the piano. The bulk of his oeuvre---potpourris based on various opera arias and such which made his publishers rich, was composed at the their request. These salon pieces were incredibly popular throughout the 19th century but for this very reason Czerny was attacked by most critics as nothing more than a hack. Very few of his other works received more than a premiere and it is highly doubtful that his critics every heard his symphonies, lieder or chamber music. Had they done so, their opinion about Czerny and his music would certainly have been very different because Czerny was not only a master craftsman but also a composer with a gift for melody. This piano trio is an excellent example of this.
Suppose you have have scheduled an evening to play the Brahms Horn Trio--what else might you try? We think the Czerny is an excellent choice. In additon, you may also enjoy these other works for violin, horn and piano: Joseph Holbrooke Trio for Violin, Horn & Piano, Robert Kahn Serenade for Violin, Horn & Piano, Donald Tovey Trio for Violin, Horn & Piano, and Carl Reinecke Trio for Violin, Horn & Piano. Our new edition follows the Schlesinger Edition of 1830 in which the piano part only had the piano part and not a piano score (i.e. it did not the other parts above it). We have made one and think this trio would do well in concert and would be enjoyed by amateurs groups with a good pianist.