Piano Trio No.5 in E flat Major, Op.102
for Piano, Violin & Viola
The famous chamber music critic Wilhelm Altmann called Ignaz Lachner's six piano trios for piano, violin and viola "indispensable." 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".
Trio No.5 begins quietly with a rather romantic Andante introduction which imperceptively increases in tempo until it finally morphs into an Allegro. Quietly, the piano alone presents the simple but attractive main theme to the second movement, Andante. The fleet scherzo, Allegro assai, is playful, while the strings have a lyrical duet in the short middle section. The finale, Allegro con spirito, begins with a celebratory melody, which is full of brio and excitement. The middle section (where our sound-bite begins) continues in a more lyrical vein but then leads to the recapitulation and exciting coda.
Here is another fine work for this ensemble. Unobtainable for many years, we are pleased to make it available again.