Félicien David

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Piano Trio No.1 in E flat Major

Félicien David (1810-1876) though widely known in his home country for his spectacular operas, filled with exotic music, elsewhere he is virtually unknown. David was born in the south of France in the town of Cadenet. His early musical education took place there, but much of what he learned was through self-study of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. At the age of 20, he moved to Paris and entered the Paris Conservatory. While in Paris, he fell under the sway of the Saint-Simonian movement, which he joined. With them, he traveled to Egypt,  where he lived for a number of years. Intoxicated with the near east, when he returned to France, he began composing operas which incorporated the melodies he heard there. His exotic-sounding music electrified French audiences and became extraordinarily popular. David, however, also wrote chamber music, something in which French audiences showed little curiosity during the first half of the 19 century. But by mid century, thanks to the pioneering efforts of George Onslow and Louise Farrenc, this was starting to change, and in 1857, David composed his three piano trios in response to this growing interest.  These trios, do not feature the exotic and bizarre which made him famous, but instead, they hue tonal the paths established by the classical and romantic composers. Firmly in the romantic camp, David is said to be the link between George Onslow and Saint-Saëns.

In the opening movement, Allegro moderato, first the violin and then the cello introduce the lovely theme over the pulsing accompaniment in the piano. A second subject, also lyrical but somewhat heroic immediately follows. The mood is bright and upbeat as things proceed almost effortlessly. The middle movement, Molto Adagio, begins as a romance with the violin presenting not only the first theme but also its development before the cello enters and the strings engage in a lovers'duet answering each other. The mood is only briefly disturbed by a mildly stormy middle section. The playful finale, Allegretto, is a rondo, a slinky and very fetching dance. Listening, one is tempted to kick up one's heels.

This is a lovely and appealing trio from the early French Romantic era. While we were lucky to obtain a copy of the first ;and only edition after much searching, it is more than 150 years old and very faded, and without any rehearsal letters. We have worked very hard enlarging and darkening it as well as adding rehearsal letters to create a very serviceable performance set of parts in an effort to rescue this trio from oblivion. However, it must be noted that while it perfectly readable, in a few places the ink has slightly faded and as such, quality wise, it cannot be compared to a newly published work. The price, considerably less than our generally very low prices, reflects this fact.

Parts: $19.95 




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