Piano Trio No.3 in c minor, Op.59
“Jadassohn’s Piano Trio No.3, Op.59 dates from 1880. It shows us an experienced master of compositional technique. Not only does the trio sound good throughout, it presents no great technical difficulties. The main theme to the first movement, Allegro patetico is vigorous, but the movement is not without its lyrical moments. The second movement, Andante tranquillo, is a Romance. The main theme has a beautiful simplicity. The second part of this movement, Allegro giocoso, holds a lively scherzo, so in actuality the third movement is within the second. The rich finale, Allegro energico, is every bit as good as the first movement.”---Wilhelm Altmann, the famous chamber music critic and scholar, writing in his Handbook for Piano Trio Players.
Salomon Jadassohn (1831-1902) was born to a Jewish family living in Breslau, the capital of the Prussian province of Silesia. First educated locally, Jadassohn enrolled at the Leipzig Conservatory in 1848, just a few years after it had been founded by Mendelssohn. There he studied composition with Moritz Hauptmann, Ernst Richter and Julius Rietz as well as piano with Ignaz Moscheles. At the same time, he studied privately with Franz Liszt in Weimar. He spent much of his career teaching piano and composition at the Leipzig Conservatory. Over the years, he became a renown pedagogue, and Grieg, Busoni, Delius, Karg-Elert, Reznicek and Weingartner were among his many students. Jadassohn wrote over 140 works in virtually every genre, including symphonies, concertos, lieder, opera and chamber music, the latter being among his finest compositions. Considered a master of counterpoint and harmony, he was also a gifted melodist, following in the tradition of Mendelssohn. But one also hears the influence of Wagner and Liszt, whose music deeply impressed him.
Jadassohn and his music were not better known primarily for two reasons: The first being Carl Reinecke and the second being the rising tide of anti-semitism in late 19th century Wilhemine Germany. Reinecke was almost Jadassohn's exact contemporary and somewhat of a super-star. Not only was he a world famous piano virtuoso but also an important professor at the Leipzig Conservatory and later its director. If this were not enough, he served as the conductor of the renowned Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Under these circumstances, it was hard for a colleague to get the public's attention.
While this work would certainly do well in the concert hall, amateurs should delight in a first class trio which is by no means hard to perform.