Piano Trio No.3 in D Major, Op.58
for Piano, Violin & Viola
"Indispensable." That was the verdict of the famous chamber music critic Wilhelm Altmann, writing in Cobbett's Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music about Ignaz 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 opening Allegro con spirito begins with musicians used to call a Mannheim firecracker, a brief introduction aimed at getting attention. Here a loud chord followed by a quick series of upward notes. The main theme when it arrives is as the title suggests, full of spirit and forward motion. The second movement is an Andante. This very beautiful music is of the utmost simplicity which is surely part of its charm. An exciting, somewhat ghostly Scherzo, allegro assai, full of thrusting energy follows. The trio section with its romantic melody first sung in the viola provides a wonderful contrast. The finale, Allegro molto, in 6/8 has a chase motif as its main theme and is reminiscent of Schubert.
This a lovely, first-rate work for this ensemble. Either out of print or hard to find, we are pleased to present it once again.