Piano Trio in D Major, Op.22
"It is hard to believe that a piano trio of this stature, one of the very best of the late 19th century or early 20th century Russian piano trios, could fall into virtually total oblivion."--Editor, The Chamber Music Journal.
Sergei Taneyev (1856-1915) is one of the greatest Russian composers from the last half of the 19th and early 20th centuries and probably, from this group, the one whose music is the least known in the West. Taneyev came from an aristocratic family that patronized the arts and when Sergei's talent became apparent, his father sent him to the newly opened Moscow Conservatory at the age of 10. His main teachers there were Nicolai Rubinstein for piano and Tchaikovsky for composition. Although he became a brilliant pianist, Taneyev opted for a career as a composer and teacher and soon became a professor at the Conservatory. His fame both as a teacher and as a composer quickly spread. Among his many students were Gliere, Rachmaninov, Gretchaninov, Scriabin and Medtner. In Russian concert halls, one always finds a bust of Taneyev alongside those of Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms and Tchaikovsky. Sadly, the fame of this outstanding composer has not spread beyond his homeland.
Hailed by Prokofiev as bold, elegant and lively, the Op.22 Piano Trio dates from 1907/8. The opening theme to the first movement, Allegro, is noble, yet reserved. It is followed by a dark, somewhat macabre and brooding scherzo, Allegro molto. A slow movement, Andante espressivo, with rich and warm melodies comes next. The finale, Allegro con brio, is full of life and good spirits.
This is a massive work of great variety and emotion. It certainly belongs on the concert stage and professional groups will surely triumph presenting it. Yet, amateurs will also be rewarded by making its acquaintance.