Trio Impromptu for Piano Trio, Op.4
Leonid Sabaneyev (also spelled Sabaneev 1881-1968) was born in Moscow. He studied music at the St. Petersburg Conservatory and later at the Moscow Conservatory with Sergei Taneyev. He pursued a dual career as a composer and a musicologist. Today, he is primarily remembered for books, in particular, his History of Russian Music and those on the composer Alexander Scriabin. He was also an important contributor to Cobbett’s Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music.
With its high-strung volatility, its detailed motifs, its seething disquiet and unending expressive suspense, the Op.4 Trio Impromptu of 1907 is the embodiment of the pre-revolutionary epoch in its anticipation of the approaching catastrophe. The foundations on which this daring piece is built reveal a terrifying fragility. In the opening movement, Allegro ma non troppo, the formal structures are softened, the meter seems to have been thrown off track in the first bars, harmonic tremors make the painstakingly established tonality shake at its foundations. The middle section, Appassionato, is full of drama and passion but also has a mysterious, quiet middle section. The finale, Largemente, is drenched with pathos, a sense of the tragic permeates the powerful themes which collide with each other. This work like that of Georgy Catoire must be considered part of the early Russian modernism movement.
This extraordinary work, long unavailable, is sure to make a powerful impression in concert. However, accomplished amateurs will also wish to study and play this impressive work.