Piano Trio No.2 in d minor Élégiaque
Rachmaninov's Piano Trio No.2 which also has the subtitle Élégiaque was composed in 1893 and written as a memorial for Tchaikovsky who was a close friend and mentor. Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943) is well-known both for having been a famous piano virtuoso and for having composed several important piano concertos as well as other works for orchestra. Few, however, know that he wrote chamber music.
Although both of his piano trios are early works, they show a mastery of technique and an uncanny similarity to his later compositions. It is a huge work, written on a much larger scale than his first trio and as one might expect full of passion and genuine deep feeling. The work is in three movements. From the opening notes of the massive Moderato, one is aware of a deep sadness which is accentuated by the repeated funereal accompaniment of the strings in the piano. The music, though highly passionate, moves as a very deliberate, almost plodding pace. The second movement, Andante, quasi variazione, is also written on a grand scale. The piano alone announces the theme which is followed by eight substantial variations. The finale, Allegro risoluto, the piano states the very Tchaikovskian theme during a long opening solo. It is rough and punctuated by violent outbursts of emotion. The sense of pathos and passion is further heightened when the strings join in. (our sound-bite begins here)
Here is a highly dramatic and powerful work which cannot fail to leave a deep impression upon any audience which hears it.