Piano Trio in B flat Major, Op.19
Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937) today is primarily remembered for his organ compositions and as one of the greatest organists of all time. Widor was born in Lyons and studied first studied with his father, also an organist, and then at the Brussels Conservatory. In 1870, upon the recommendation of Charles Gounod and Camille Saint-Saens, he was appointed to the most important position an organist could hold in France, the position of organist at Saint Sulpice Church in Paris. In 1890, he succeeded Cesar Franck as Professor of Organ at the Paris Conservatory and many important composers, including, Darius Milhaud, Louis Vierne, Marcel Dupre, and Edgar Varese, studied with him. He composed throughout his life in virtually every genre and left a considerable amount of chamber music. The fact that his chamber music along with his other non-organ compositions have been ignored is because of his tower contribution to the organ literature. But Cobbett's Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music states that his chamber music is of the first rank and as good as that of Saint-Saens.
Certainly, the Piano Trio in B flat Major, composed around 1875, illustrates that Widor was not only a fine melodist but in complete control of compositional technique. The lovely and sophisticated opening Allegro clearly shows that the young Widor had already adopted the new French school of composition which was just coming into its own. The delicate and exquisite Andante con moto quasi moderato is an updated version of a baroque Sarabande. Next comes a marvelous, lively Scherzo which starts off lightly and moves to a compelling second theme and then back to a elves dance. The trio is somber and darker in tonal color. The finale, a light and swift Presto, both charms and excites with its vitality.
This first rate trio is a superb example of the burgeoning French school of composition. With its lovely melodies and tasteful writing it would make an excellent concert choice. Amateurs will also enjoy it. Long out of print, it is with pleasure that we reintroduce it.