Piano Trio No.1 in c minor
Théodore Dubois' Piano Trio No.1 dates from 1904 at which time he was 67. This witty, spontaneous and energetic music very much sounds like the work of a young man, however, the sophistication and polish are clearly the product of much learning and experience.
Théodore Dubois (1837-1924) was born in the French town of Rosnay. After an impressive career at the Paris Conservatory, where he studied with Ambroise Thomas, he won the coveted Prix de Rome. Among the many important positions he held during a long career was that of director of the Madeleine, where he succeeded Saint-Saëns, and later of the Paris Conservatory. Among his many students were Paul Dukas and Florent Schmitt.
Dubois wrote a considerable amount of music in nearly every genre. Like Saint Saëns, he eschewed impressionism, and continued on in the French Romantic tradition which the former had helped to pioneer. It is characterized by, logic, clarity, fine melody, drama and a refined sense of taste. His music is finely crafted and clearly shows that he was a gifted melodist. It is truly a pity his chamber music is unknown because it is absolutely first rate.
The opening movement, Modéré mais avec un sentiment agitě, begins with a restless main theme, the second subject is warmer and more optimistic. The opening melody to the slow movement, Assez lent, très expressif, is a highly romantic and beautiful love song. The original and witty scherzo, Vif et très léger, is full of gaity and elegance. The finale, Très large et très soutenu--Vif et bien rhythmè, très articulé, très chaleureux, begins with a long, slow introduction which builds suspense, then in a burst of energy, a lively and energetic section, which begins with a magnificent fugue, takes flight. (our sound-bite starts here). This is contrasted with a lovely, lyrical second melody.
This trio clearly belongs to the first rank of such works and belongs in the concert hall. It is a first rate work by any standard and another marvelous example of late French romanticism which will also be enjoyed by amateurs. Long out of print, it is with pleasure that we reintroduce it.