Piano Trio No.2 in G Major, Op.45
for Piano, Violin & Viola
The number of piano trios for for violin, viola and piano are few and far between. And perhaps the most famous of all chamber music critics, Wilhelm Altmann, considered Lachner's six trios for this combination to be absolutely "indispensible". And they, without doubt, are among the very 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.
The Op.45 Trio is G Major a relatively youthful work and one can hear wonderful Schubertian melodies throughout. The opening movement Allegro moderato begins with two double stops in the violin before the first subject, of a Beethovian nature, is stated. However, this is not the main theme, which is dramatic and powerful and ultimately climaxes with a series of chords in the strings which recall the opening two chords of the movement. A substantial Andante, whose first theme harks back to Schubert, follows. Though not so marked, it is a theme with variations. Some of the variations recall those of Schubert's Trout Quintet. Instead of a scherzo, Lachner substitutes an Allegretto, whose propulsive main theme is of a pleading nature. A lovely trio section provides a fine contrast. The music of the finale, also marked Allegretto, brings to mind a rousing rustic, peasant festival.
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".
This is superb work which would certainly be a success in the concert hall. But whether professional or amateur, no violin, viola, and piano ensemble should miss the chance to play this trio. Our edition, unlike several others, not only has rehearsal numbers and a complete piano score, but has also been enlarged for easy performance.