Piano Trio in A Major, Op.11
Louis Thirion (1879-1966) was born in the French town of Baccarat. He studied violin, and organ as well as composition, the later with the French composer Guy Ropartz at the Conservatory of Nancy. At the age of 20, he was appointed professor of piano and organ there, eventually becoming its director in 1918. Besides Ropartz, he was influenced by Cesar Franck, Debussy, Chabrier and Stravinsky. Most of his works were composed between 1900 and 1913. This was in part due to the fact that he was on active duty in the French army from 1914 to 1918 and not long after, his wife died leaving him with two small children to raise. He made the decision then to stop composing and concentrated on performance and conducting. As far as chamber music goes, besides this piano trio, he wrote a string quartet and some instrumental sonatas.
Thirion's Piano Trio in A Major, which dates from 1912, opens in stormy fashion as the marking to the first movement, Impétueusement, clearly indicates. The music is restless and constantly striving for a seemingly unobtainable resolution. The second theme is less turbulent but also with the same sense of striving. The second movement. Pas trop vit, after the opening crashing chord, proceeds as a light, upbeat and playful French scherzo. The third movement, Adagio, unfolds slowly, like a flower filmed in slow motion, proceeding inexorably to a climax which vanishes before it can be reached. The music turns soft and somewhat mysterious. The engaging finale, Joyeusement, is at times genial, playful and lively and at other times a dignified march.
As is often the case with composers who live outside of the main centers of musical life in their country, Thirion's fine piano trio, which certainly would have entered the repertoire had he lived in Paris, languished forgotten and unplayed. But it is undeniably a first rate work deserving of performance and its chance on the concert stage. Not available for many years, we are pleased to present it once again.