Piano Trio in B flat Major, Op.10
Emil Hartmann (1836-1898) was born in Copenhagen, the son of J.P.E. Hartmann, one of Denmark's leading mid-19th century composers. He studied mostly with his father. In Denmark, he held important positions as a church organist by which he earned his living. He composed in virtually every genre and his music enjoyed considerable success in Germany for many years. As this fine piano trio indicates, he was an accomplished composer with a gift for melody and a good understanding of the instruments for which he was writing.
The Op.10 Piano Trio dates from 1867 and was dedicated to his father. The work makes some reference to his father's opera Liden Kirsten (Little Christine) which was widely praised for its brilliant use of Nordic folksong. And Nordic melody can clearly be heard in this trio not only in the actual tonalities but also in the way Hartmann uses them to create an evocative, almost narrative atmosphere. An example of this is the beautiful introduction to the first movement, Poco Andante-Allegro. A lovely cello solo, full of pathos leads to the main section which is bright and lively. The second movement, Scherzo, allegro vivace, creates a mystical mood as it races breathlessly along. The trio section is full of Mendelssohnian lightness and grace. A slower movement, Andante, is a lovely song without words capped by a passionate middle section. In the finale, Poco Andante-Allegro vivace, the haunting cello melody from the opening introduction briefly returns. Slowly, the tempo is increased until a good-humored Allegro is reached.
Out of print for more than a century, here is a work that had it been written by a famous name, would surely be in the piano trio repertoire. We warmly recommend it to professionals and amateurs alike whom we believe will welcome this wonderful trio.