Suite for Piano Trio in A Major, Op.35
Horatio Parker (1863-1919) was born in Auburndale, Massachusetts. He first studied composition with George Chadwick at the New England Conservatory in Boston and subsequently with Josef Rheinberger at the Bavarian Royal Conservatory in Munich. Like other American composers working at this time, he was primarily influenced by the major German Romantic composers. He enjoyed a long career as a teacher, first at the National Conservatory in New York under Dvorak's directorship and subsequently as a Professor and Dean of the Yale Music School. He wrote in most genres but today is primarily remembered for his vocal compositions.
Composed in 1904, the Suite for Piano Trio clearly harks back to that popular in the baroque era as it follows the format of a Bach dance suite, but its style is that of the romantic era and not the baroque. The opening movement, Prelude, in the piano part, with its arpeggios, resembles a Bach prelude, but the long-lined, yearning string melodies are something not found in Bach. The second movement, Tempo di Menuetto, in structure resembles the formal minuet, but the melody and rhythm are clearly those of a romantic waltz. A slow movement, entitled Romance, follows. The main section is lush and yearning but a the contrasting middle section is lighter and almost playful. The finale, an Allegro, though not so marked, is clearly a march dominated by its dotted rhythms. Here the middle section is faster and more lyrical.
Unavailable for many years, this is a beautiful work, light and appealing and highly polished. It would be a sure pleaser in concert but also should make friends among amateur trio players.