String Trio No.5 in g minor
Peter Hänsel (sometimes spelled Haensel, 1770-1831) was born in the town Leppe in what was then Prussian Silesia. He was trained as a violinist and worked in Warsaw and St. Petersburg before obtaining employment in Vienna where he studied composition with Haydn during the 1790’s. Other than two years he spent in Paris during 1802-1803, his entire life was spent in Vienna, working as a violinist and composer. He devoted himself almost exclusively to the genre of chamber music, writing nearly 60 string quartets, 6 string trios, 5 string quintets and works for several other small ensembles. His style remained firmly rooted in the classical era and is closely related to that of his teacher Haydn but he also introduced French and Polish elements into his works, the result of his sojourning in those lands.
Hänsel's six string trios were published in two sets of three. The first, which was for 2 violins and cello, appeared in 1811. A second set, his Op.40, was composed in the year of his death and were not published in his lifetime. The composer’s manuscript is in the library of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna. Our edition is based on that manuscript. Trio No.5 is the only one of the set in the minor. The opening movement, Allegro con fuoco, begins with a dramatic melody in the violin to a pulsing accompaniment in the lower voices. It is extensively developed and closely related to the second subject. A very Haydnesque Menuetto allegro, with a charming Austrian Lāndler for a trio, comes next. The singing main theme of the third movement, a fetching Andante, is first introduced by the cello and then taken up by the others. The finale, Vivace, is a stirring rondo.