Piano Trio No.3 in c minor
Félicien David (1810-1876) though widely known in his home country for his spectacular operas, filled with exotic music, elsewhere he 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.
From the opening bars of the first movement, Allegretto, one is immediately impressed with the intrinsic melodic beauty and natural grace of the music. The two main themes, though closely related are emotionally contrasting. The lovely second movement, Andante, with its simple but charming melody calls to mind an Austrian country dance. An exciting Scherzo, featuring a galloping main theme is vaguely Beethovenian. In the captivating finale, Allegro, again one hears echoes of Beethoven.
This is a first class piano trio from the French Romantic era. It belongs in the repertoire and on the concert stage. Presenting no great technical challenges, amateurs will greatly enjoy a work of this quality. Our edition is a reprint of an original nearly 150 years old. We have added rehearsal numbers and removed all of the detritus of age, such as water marks and smudges, to create a very serviceable performance set of parts in an effort to rescue this fine work from oblivion. However, while 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, less than our generally very low prices, reflects this fact.