String Trio No.1 in f minor, Op.8 for 2 Violins and Cello
Karol Lipinski's String Trio No.1 in g minor, Op.8 was published by Breitkopf & Härtel in 1830, although it is thought by scholars to have composed several years before that. As a touring virtuoso, Lipinski, like Spohr and several others touring virtuosi, often found that in many towns there were not enough good musicians available to form a small orchestra so that a concerto could be performed. However, there was often a pianist, a violinist or two, and a cellist of decent ability that could be found. Hence, these soloists would opt for the accompaniment of a few players, a string trio or quartet or perhaps a piano in such cases. Few of Lipinski's works have survived in their original version but in arrangements, often just the violin part exists. But in the case of his two string trios, we have original works. There is no mistaking that this is not a trio of equals but rather a vehicle intended for the soloist, although the other players must also be accomplished and are sometimes given important thematic material. The opening Moderato is full of fetching melodies and is followed by a heart felt and gorgeous Adagio. The finale is an exciting Polero.
Paganini, when asked whom he thought was the greatest violinist in the world, would always answer, “I don’t know, but Lipinski is the second best.” Karol Lipiński (1790-1861) was born in the Polish town of Radzyń Podlaski. He studied the violin with his father and was largely self-taught. When his family moved to Lvov, he also studied cello. In 1810. he became concertmaster and then the conductor of the opera orchestra there. In Vienna, he met Louis Spohr, one of the leading soloists of the day, who encourged Lipinski to give up orchestral playing and persue a career as a touring soloist. Lipinski followed this advice and in 1817 embarked on a tour through Austria, Hungary, and then on to Italy to hear Paganin play. This he did and the two became friends and concertized with each other. Although his style of playing was quite different, Lipinski was widely regarded as the only serious rival to Paganini and Paganini recognized this. He continued his career as a touring virtuoso until taking the position of Music Director of the Dresden Orchestra. He knew all of the important musicians of the day and was highly regarded by most of the leading ones such as Schumann, Mendelssohn and Chopin.
The Trio was never reprinted and has been out of print for 150 years. We have reprinted the original and added rehearsal letters. It is an exciting concert piece sure to bring down the house and can be warmly recommended to players of fine technical ability.