Piano Trio No.2 in F sharp Major, Op.7
The famous chamber music critic Wilhelm Altmann, writing in his Handbook for Piano Trio Players, has this to say about the Second Piano Trio:
“Wolf-Ferrari’s chamber music emphatically deserves consideration because it expresses the thoughts of a sensitive and inspired musician. The Second Piano Trio dates from 1900. It is well-written and contains fine and serious ideas which are quite interesting. The work leaves a strong impression of an independent artist, uninfluenced by others. The main theme of the first movement, Sostenuto, has an other-world atmosphere that is quite charming. The second movement, Largo, perhaps even more than the first has this same quality. The finale, Lievemente mosso e tranquillo sempre, is noteworthy for the clever and interestingly written theme presented in canonic fashion. This makes an effective work for the concert stage and certainly will also appeal to experienced amateur players.”
Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari (1876-1948) was born in Venice, the son of a German father and an Italian mother. Throughout his life, he felt torn between the two cultures, uniting in himself the deep-felt German seriousness of purpose with sunny, Italian bel canto melody. His father was a painter and initially Ermanno wanted to follow in his footsteps. However after studying painting in Rome and Munich, he enrolled in the Royal Bavarian Conservatory and studied composition with Joseph Rheinberger. He spent his the rest of his life between Munich and Venice, never entirely satisfied in either place. This tension was, however, an important source of creativity for him. Wolf-Ferrari enjoyed his greatest success while still rather young, winning international fame for several of his operas between 1900 and the First World War. He served as Choral Director in Milan and later became the director of the Marcello Music Academy in Venice and taught at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. Though mainly known for his operas, he was quite fond of chamber music and wrote a fair amount including two piano trios, a piano quintet, a string trio, a string quartet and a string quintet.