Piano Trio No.1 in c sharp minor, Op.100
“Among Phillip Scharwenka's very best works are his two outstanding piano trios. These works are not only masterly in form, but spirited and full of noble melodies. They can be warmly recommend to professionals for concert performance but also to amateur players. Piano Trio No.1 dates from 1897. The first movement, Lento e tranquillo opens with a very somber and serious theme. The slow tempo, which only very occasionally speeds up, adds tremendous weight to the three powerful subjects. A big, fleet Scherzo Allegro follows. The finale, Allegro appassionato, begins with a bustling main theme, whose interest is only further heightened by its rhythm. Add to this a lilting second subject and a lyrical and deeply felt third melody. Though full of passion and power, this serious music ends on a calm and quiet note."---So wrote the famous chamber music critic Wilhelm Altmann in his Handbook for Piano Trio Players.
Philipp Scharwenka (1847-1917) was born near Posen, then part of Prussian Poland. He moved to Berlin in 1865 to complete his musical education. A good pianist, he primarily devoted himself to composition and teaching at several of Berlin’s leading conservatories, finally joining the faculty and serving as director of the conservatory founded by his younger brother, Xaver. Otto Klemperer was among his many students. During his lifetime, his orchestral compositions were featured regularly in German concert halls, but the common consensus is that his chamber music was his best work. Besides several instrumental sonatas, he wrote two string quartets, two standard piano trios, a trio for violin, viola & piano and a piano quintet.
This is a powerful and very impressive work, sure to be successful in the concert hall, but well within the reach of amateur players who should not miss the opportunity to make its acquaintance. Unavailable for many years now, we are pleased to reintroduce it.