Piano Trio No.3 in g minor, Op.3 No.3
Onslow’s Piano Trio No.3 in e minor, Op.3 No.3 is the last of a set of three which were dedicated to his sometime teacher and friend, the touring concert pianist and composer Jan Dussek who returned to Paris in 1807. The trios were completed that year and were published by Pleyel in 1808. The fact that Dussek himself took part in their public performance helped to put the young composer's name on the map. Critics were impressed and the trios became quite popular and went through several editions
The opening movement, Vivace, begins with a very original introduction with the violin and cello alone in unison presenting a remarkable theme, dark and foreboding. The movement proceeds with tremendous forward energy and excitement. The Andante grazioso which follows is calm and quite lyrical, but dramatic episodes from time to time break through to disturb the idyll. The third movement is marked Minuetto, however, it is much closer to a scherzo in mood and tempo. A fine contrasting trio is provided. The finale, Allegro agitato, with its compelling themes which alternate between reckless breakneck subjects and Schubertian lovliness cap off this fine work.
George Onslow (1784-1853)was was held to be in the front rank of composers by such experts as Mendelssohn and Schumann, who freely compared his music that of Mozart and Beethoven and found them not to be wanting. Perhaps no composer more than George Onslow illustrates the fickleness of fame. Onslow was born and lived his entire life in France, the son of an English father and French mother. His string quartets, string quintets and piano trios were a constant feature of concert programs throughout the 19th century. Onslow’s writing was unique in that he was successfully able to merge the drama of the opera into the chamber music idiom perfected by the Vienna masters.
Onslow's works were published in different countries by different publishers and the editions were sometimes different. Our new edition is based the original Pleyel Paris edition of 1808. This is a very enjoyable trio to play and to hear. It would do well in concert as well as on the stands of amateurs.