Piano Trio No.3 in G Major, Op.60
Paul Juon's Third Piano Trio, which dates from 1915, is an excellent example of why he has often been referred to as the missing link between Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky. In his early music, one can hear the influence of his Russian homeland and schooling. Of course, Juon recognized that though he had been born in Russia and schooled there, he was a still foreigner living among Russians. His second period is more cosmopolitan and is in tune with the contemporary Central European trends of the early 20th century. Ultimately, it is hard to characterize his music as Russian or German, Romantic, Modern or Folkloric, because one can find all of these elements in his music.
Paul Juon (1872-1940) was the son of Swiss parents who emigrated to Moscow where he was born. Educated at the Moscow German High School, he entered the Moscow Conservatory where he studied violin with Jan Hrimaly and composition with Anton Arensky and Sergei Taneyev. After graduating, he went to Berlin for further composition instruction from Woldemar Bargiel. In 1906, after holding various posts in Russia, Juon was invited by Joseph Joachim head, of the prestigious Berlin Hochschule für Musik, to be a Professor of Composition. It was a post he held until 1934 at which time he moved to Switzerland, where lived for the rest of his life. During his lifetime, Juon was widely regarded as an important composer and his works were given frequent performance throughout Europe. Chamber music plays a large part of his total output which numbers more than 100 works.
The opening movement to Piano Trio No.3, Moderato assai, has for its main theme a melody of vaguely Russian provenance. Juon treatment, especially rhythmically is highly imaginative and quite compelling. The middle movement, Andante cantabile, though introspective is highly romantic and full of deep feeling. The finale, Risoluto, ma non troppo allegro, after a brusque chordal opening, is moved forward with a powerful and thrusting theme characteristic of the self-willed quality of many east Slavic folk melodies. The second theme, though also powerful and highly charged, is more lyrical in quality.
We are pleased to reintroduce this long unavailable but important trio, characteristic of the transitional period of the second decade of the 20th century. It will be of interest to professionals who would do well to program it, but also to experienced amateurs who will find it well within their capabilities.