Piano Trio in B flat Major, Op.31
Thomas Dyke Acland Tellefsen (1823-1874) was born in Norwegian city of Trondheim, His first music lessons were with his father a church organist. In 1843 he went to Paris, where he studied with Charlotte Thygeson, Friedrich Kalkbrenner and then with Frédéric Chopin, whose favorite student he became. During his lifetime, Tellefsen was widely regarded as one of the outstanding pianists of his time, and was especially admired as an interpreter of Chopin's music. Besides his career as a concert pianist, he was also active in performing chamber music. Most of his compositions are for piano. However, he did write a number of instrumental sonatas of note, in particular for the violin and cello. He was close friends with the French violinist Alard and the Belgium cello virtuoso Franchomme, with whom he often performed, and this no doubt was the impetus for writing those sonatas as well as his Piano Trio in B flat Major, Op.31, which was completed in 1861.
The Trio is in four movements. The opening Allegro maestoso begins in relatively sedate fashion. But slowly, tension is built as the romantic opening theme is given a striving development. A second theme is of an heroic nature. In the second movement, Scherzo moderato, the piano is given the lead in presenting a light-footed, French, somewhat delicate theme to a long-lined, brooding accompaniment in the strings. The trio section begins in the same vein with bursts of Norwegian folk melody making brief appearances. An Adagio, featuring very romantic, Chopinesque melodic writing, follows. The finale, Allegro, begins rather calmly with the piano introducing the main subject. When the strings enter, they repeat it with a heightened sense of delicacy and elegance. Suddenly, they burst into a marching development, full of power and energy.
This trio is typical of the mid-romantic French era. It is an engaging work combining elements of Chopin's musical thought with some Norwegian folk melody. We worked from a set of the original parts which were brought out by the French publisher Richault, never renowned for the quality of its paper or ink. Hence the ink on these 158 year old parts had faded in places and there were all sorts of water marks, smudges, detritus and fingerings. We have spent many hours digitally cleaning, darkening, removing fingerings and correcting errors and have been able to create a serviceable performance edition but, it is not pristine like a newly published work nor the equal in quality of a modern edition. The price, less than our generally very low prices, reflects this fact.