Piano Trio in One Movement, Op.32
Norman O’Neill (1875-1934) was born in London. He studied first with the British composer Arthur Somervell. At the suggestion of Joseph Joachim, he then went to the Frankfurt Conservatory where he studied with Iwan Knorr. He became friendly with four other British students then studying with Knorr—Percy Grainger, Roger Quilter, Balfour Gardiner and Cyril Scott. Together, they became known as the Frankfurt Gang. Upon returning to London, he primarily wrote for the theater and became quite well-known for his scores. But he also wrote for the ballet, and penned several works for orchestra, chamber ensemble and instrumental groupings.
His chamber music includes a piano quintet, a string quartet, an earlier piano trio, a theme and set of variations and this Piano Trio. The Piano Trio in One Movement dates from 1909 and was dedicated to Sir Arthur Somervell, his first teacher. It begins with an Andante introduction, with the violin muted to the cello’s pizzicato. This leads to an energetic Allegro con fuoco, the first main section. It is jaunty and quite rhythmic. After a few Andante interruptions, the central section of the trio, Allegro scherzando, emerges. Here, the shifting tonality is characteristic of French and American developments of the time. The finale is a reprise of the opening Allegro con fuoco.
This fine work has been out of print for the better part of a century and we are pleased to reintroduce and feel it would make an attractive shorter work on any piano trio's program while at the same time being an attractive piece for amateurs.