Prince of Prussia
Piano Trio No.2 in E flat Major, Op.3
"If he is not a composer of the Romantic era, then he must be considered the most romantic of the Classical." So wrote Robert Schumann of Louis Ferdinand Hohenzollern (1772-1806), a nephew of Frederick the Great and a Prince of Prussia.
“The themes of the first movement, Allegro espressivo, to the Op.3 Trio are festive and gallant. The second movement an Andante and set of variations can be warmly recommended for the wealth of ideas. The appealing finale, a rondo, is dominated by its dance rhythms.”---Wilhelm Altmann, writing in his Handbook for Piano Trio Players.
A professional soldier, who died during a battle fighting Napoleon's invading army, Louis Ferdinand was also trained as a musician, studying piano and composition with several different teachers. He was a gifted pianist, reckoned a virtuoso with few peers by those who heard him, and his compositions have always been regarded as the work of a professional composer. Musicologists generally consider him an early Romantic whose music anticipated Schubert and Schumann, but one can also hear the influence of Mozart as well as early Beethoven. Military and court life left little time to compose and he has but a few works to his credit, mostly chamber music. These include 3 piano trios, 2 piano quartets and a piano quintet. Most of the Prince’s chamber music was published by Breitkopf & Härtel in the year of his death, 1806. However, the works were not composed in that year and the opus numbers were merely assigned to the works by Breitkopf following the order in which the works were published. In the case of the Piano Trio in E flat Major, Op.3, scholars believe that it was composed during 1798-1799. The work is dedicated to the Duchess of Courland, whose daughter Louis planned to marry. It is a surprisingly forward looking work in that the themes of the second and third movements are derived from the themes of the first movement.
The original 1806 edition had no rehearsal letters and the piano part, as was then the custom, lacked the string parts, it was not a piano score. Our edition has a piano score and all of the parts have rehearsal letters. This is an appealing work which should win friends who make its acquaintance.