Piano Trio No.1 in B flat Major, Op.37
for Piano, Violin & Viola
This is the first of Ignaz Lachner's "indispensible" trios for this little served combination. And "indispensible" was the word the famous chamber music critic Wilhelm Altmann used to describe Lachner's trios for violin, viola and piano. And indeed they are among the best compositions ever written for this little used alternative to the standard piano trio. It is not known why Lachner chose to write all of his piano trios for this combination. It is thought that they were either commissioned over time by viola connoisseurs or that he simply like the light sound created by the ensemble. In any case, it is fortuitous, for he greatly enriched the literature for this combination.
Ignaz Lachner (1807-1895) was the second of the three famous Lachner brothers. (there were some 16 children in all) His older brother Franz was the best known, having heavily traded on his youthful friendship with Franz Schubert, certainly more than Ignaz who also knew Schubert. Ignaz was taught (as were the others) organ, piano and violin. Upon the latter instrument, he was somewhat of a prodigy, but despite this, his father insisted he become a teacher. After his fatherís death, he studied violin with Bernhard Molique, a violin virtuoso and then joined his brother Franz in Vienna where he too befriended and was influenced by Schubert, not to mention Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. Though primarily known as a conductor, Lachner composed a considerable amount of music, much of it chamber music. His place in music is as a "Classicist-Romantic".
The Op.37 Trio is a relatively youthful work and one can hear wonderful Schubertian melodies throughout. The opening movement Allegro moderato begins with a Beethovian melody. The development in which the the strings answer the piano in sequence is very original and striking. The second melody is a lovely Schubertian lied. The second movement, Andante con moto, opens with a simple and naive tune in the strings but almost immediately and rather suddenly, the music quickly changes into a wild syncopated dance. Again, a very original treatment which is fresh and original. A muscular Scherzo follows, it is a mix of Schubert and Beethoven. The lovely trio section provides a superb contrast. The finale, Allegro, begins in a rather dainty fashion with an rhythmically off-beat melody. Then we hear Mozartian melody which Lachner puts to excellent use, quickly following it up with an elaboration of the first theme.
This is an outstanding work. A fine work for the concert hall which every violin, viola, and piano ensemble, be they amateur or professional will revel in. Either out of print or hard to find, we are pleased to present it once again.