Piano Trio No.1 in c minor, Op.38
Piano Trio No.1 in c minor was composed in 1906 and dedicated to his teacher, Sergei Taneyev. The first movement, Allegro passionato, is propelled forward by the rhythmic urgency of the first theme, which is, in fact, full of passion. A second theme brings a modicum of tranquility to the music, but only briefly. The second movement, Lento assai, begins with tonal ambiguity until the appearance of the main theme introduced by the violin and echoed by the cello. The finale, Allegro vivace, derives its energy from its rhythmic motifs which are interrupted from time to time by more lyrical episodes before an exciting conclusion.
Alexander Gretchaninov (1864-1956) was born in Moscow and studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Anton Arensky and Sergei Taneyev. In the late 1880s, after a quarrel with Arensky, he moved to St. Petersburg where he studied composition and orchestration with Rimsky-Korsakov until 1893. His works, especially those for voice, achieved considerable success within Russia, while his instrumental works enjoyed even wider acclaim. By 1910, he was considered a composer of such distinction that the Tsar had awarded him an annual pension. Though he remained in Russia for several years after the Revolution, ultimately, he chose to emigrate, first to France in 1925 and then to the U.S. in 1939 where he remained for the rest of his life.
This fine work should be of interest to both professionals and amateurs alike and deserves to be heard in concert. Unavailable now for many years, we are pleased to reintroduce it.