Piano Trio No.3 in a minor, Op.26
Nearly thirty years separate the third trio from his earlier two. During the intervening 30 years, French composers such as Lalo, Saint-Saëns and Fauré began to create a French sounding body of instrumental music. Lalo’s Third Piano Trio, dating from 1880, was one of the first works of its type, and as such, it marks a clear break with the earlier two trios . The main theme of the opening movement, Allegro appassionato, consists of a dialogue between the violin and the cello, with each instrument giving out only part of the theme. Slowly, the music does become more passionate by means of gradual dynamic increases. The overall effect is of water in a tea kettle coming to a boil, you can hear the climax coming. The next movement, Presto, is a firery scherzo. Here, perhaps more than anywhere else in the trio, the newly emerging French school of instrumental composition is very apparent, both in the brilliant and turbulent scherzo and in its more sedate and relaxed trio. The slow movement is the longest. The main theme unfolds very slowly, like a flower shown in time-lapse photography. In the finale, Allegro agitato, Lalo begins with a powerful and captivating march-like melody. Two other excellent themes follow. A very fine work, which of course, should be heard in concert.--Excerpted from The Chamber Music Journal.
Édouard Lalo (1823-1892) today, outside of France, is best known for his Symphonie Espagnole for violin and orchestra and perhaps his cello concerto. Within France, he is remembered for his opera Le roi d'Ys. Hardly anyone knows or has heard his excellent chamber music, which includes three very appealing piano trios and a string quartet. Lalo was born in Lille and studied at the local conservatory there before entering the Paris Conservatory, where he studied with the well-known French violinist and conductor, François Habeneck. Before he made a name for himself as a composer, for nearly two decades, Lalo made his living working as a violinist, and in particular, performing chamber music. If one considers this, it is perhaps not so surprising that he was able to write such attractive and finished chamber works.