Piano Trio No.6 in C Major, Op.103
For Piano, Violin & Viola
This is the last of Lachner's six trios for piano, violin and viola which the famous chamber music critic Wilhelm Altmann called "indispensable." And they certainly 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 movement to Trio No.6, Andante grave--Allegro, begins with a slow and serious introduction. The main part of the movement (where our sound-bite starts) is quicker and more light-hearted, and certainly sounds like the notes flowed from Lachner's pen without any effort on his part. The Andantino which comes next has opens with double stops in the strings and almost sounds tragic but this mood quickly lightens as clouds burned away by the sun. Yet, the opening returns again and again creating a strange contrast. The Tempo di Menuetto sounds like something Haydn might have penned. Charming and very classical in mood. In the lively and engaging finale, an Allegro, Haydn's influence can be felt as the main theme consists of responding snippets. After much back and forth a wonderful second theme is brought forth by both strings.
Yet another fine work for this ensemble. Unobtainable for many years, we are pleased to make it available again.