Piano Trio in E flat Major
Peter Heise (1830-1879) was born in Copenhagen where he studied locally before attending the Leipzig Conservatory. Heise was of the generation for whom Mendelssohn and Schumann were the guiding lights. He was also influenced by his fellow countryman, Niels Gade. He did not find Wagner and the tonal ideas of the New German School to his taste. Upon his return to Copenhagen, he made a name for himself as a song writer although he composed in most genres. His opera Drot og Marsk (King & Marshall) was widely regarded the finest Danish opera of the 19th century. Although his instrumental works are almost uniformly excellent, because of the tremendous popularity of his songs, they were overlooked. Among his chamber music works are 6 string quartets, a piano trio, this piano quintet, and a number of instrumental sonatas.
On a trip to Rome, Heise met and befriended the Italian composer and pianist, Giovanni Sgambati. The Trio, which dates from 1869, is dedicated to Sgambati. The music is characterized by youthful energy and elan. The movements are overflowing with melodic ideas, most taken from Nordic folk music. The opening movement, Allegro molto risoluto, begins in a typically classical Beethovian fashion, but the melodic writing is clearly romantic, especially the lyrical second theme. In the second movement, Andantino, one can clearly hear from the wonderful vocal qualities of the melodies, that Heise, like Mozart and Schubert, was a superb composer for voice. The movement might well be subtitled, Romance. It is by turns dramatic, sensitive and wistful. A scherzo, Presto—Vivace, follows. Taken at a furious tempo, the music is full of high spirits, while the Nordic sounding trio surely must have influenced Grieg. Again, in the finale, Allegro con spirito, Heise relies on Nordic folk music for his themes from which he fashions an appealing dancing melody. Against this comes a highly romantic second theme.
Out of print for more than a century, we are pleased to make this first class work available once again. We hope that it will find a place in the concert hall as well as on the music stands of amateur chamber music lovers.