Johann Baptist Gänsbacher
Piano Trio in D Major
Johann Baptist Gänsbacher (1778-1844) was born in the Tyrolian town of Sterzing. After studying with his father, he subsequently moved to Vienna where he studied with the then famous teachers Abbe Joseph Vogler and Georg Albrechtsberger. He then follwed Vogler to Darmstadt where he befriended Carl Maria von Weber and Giacomo Meyerbeer. The three remained close friends throughout their lives. Eventually, Gänsbacher returned to Vienna and in 1823 was appointed to the important post of Music Director of Vienna's Cathedral, St. Stephen's, a position he held until his death. He also became a well-known teacher. Weber and several of his contemporaries regarded Gänsbacher as one of the leading composers of the day. He composed in virtually every genre but during the last part of his life, the bulk of his compositions were for the church. Stylistically, his music resembles Hummel's as well as that of early Schubert in that it represents the end of the Viennese Classical Era and the bridge period between it and Romanticism.
He is known to have written at least three piano trios two of which date from the first decade of the 19th century. These he entitled, as Haydn did his piano trios, sonatas for piano, violin and cello. The Piano Trio in D Major was published in 1808 but its sonata title leads to the conclusion that it was composed some years before that. The rather ordinary opening bars to the first movement, Allegro, give no indication whatsoever of the explosion which takes place only a few seconds later. The fetching second theme is first stated by the violin. The gorgeous middle movement, Andante, not though so marked is a Romance. The main theme of the finale, Rondo allegretto, is a kind of playful Viennese dance tune. Here and there, strains of Mozart can be heard in this charming piece.
This very pleasing work was only published once, that being in Vienna in 1808 by Steiner. After much searching we have obtained a copy of the first edition. As was typical for that period, the piano part does not also have the string parts printed with it, and as might be expected of sheet music more than 200 years old, it was in less than pristine condition. We have spent many hours digitally cleaning, darkening and correcting errors and have been able to create a serviceable performance edition in order to rescue this lovely trio from oblivion. But, it is not like a newly published work nor the equal in quality of a modern edition. The price, more than a third less than our already very low standard price, reflects this fact.