Piano Trio in a minor
Max d'Ollone (1875-1959) was born in the French town of Besanšon and studied composition at the Paris Conservatory with Jules Massenet, winning the prestigious Prix d'Rome. He then pursued a career as a composer, conductor and teacher and eventually served as a professor at the Paris Conservatory. Most of his works are for the stage although he did not entirely ignore chamber music, composing this piano trio, a string quartet and some instrumental works.
The Piano Trio in a minor dates from 1920. The structure is entirely conventional and his use of cyclical form, of which the French, since the time of Cesar Franck were so fond, can be heard throughout. It is the main theme from the first movement, Allegro ma non troppo e ben deciso, which reappears in each of the succeeding movements, but it is dressed up in such a way as to be virtually unrecognizable. This Allegro is characterized by its distinctive rhythmic drive. The second movement, Adagio, is somewhat melancholy with long-lined melodies given a subtle accompaniment which is based on the main theme from the first movement. Next comes a nervous Scherzo. The exciting finale, a Presto, bursts out of the starting gate with tremendous energy and forward momentum which is kept up from start to finish.
Here is another first rate piano trio, totally forgotten and consigned (hopefully until now) to oblivion. It certainly belongs in the concert hall where it will be welcomed by audiences for its freshness and originality. It should also be of interest to experienced amateurs.