Piano Trio in D Major
Alexei Stanchinsky (1888-1914) was born in the Russian town of Obolsunovo. He received piano lessons at an early age and by the time he was six, he was regarded as a prodigy. Eventually, he enrolled in the Moscow Conservatory where he studied piano with Joseph Lhevinne and composition with Sergei Taneyev. His compositions, which were regarded as ground-breaking by his teachers and peers, were mostly for piano. Very few were published during his lifetime. His father's death in 1908 led to a nervous breakdown from which it took him 2 years to recover. His music was influenced by several composers, the most noticeable being Scriabin, Mussorgsky and Grieg.
The Piano Trio in D Major, in one fairly large movement, was not published until some 52 years after his death in 1966. It was begun in 1907 and completed in 1910, but this was not because he worked on it for 3 years, but because shortly after it was begun, Stanchinsky suffered his breakdown from which he had to be hospitalized. The main theme of the trio is clearly folkloric in nature. The melodies most often sound like something out of the American West that Aaron Copeland might have written but at other times, they are clearly inspired by Russian folk melody. It is heavily scored in the string parts, with the violin often given substantial passages of double stops. The treatment of all of the instruments is masterful.