Boris Kuschnir - Violin (Antonio Stradivari, 1703)
Orfeo Mandozzi - Cello (Francesco Ruggeri, 1675)
Jasminka Stancul - Piano (Fazioli Modell F278)
Recording: Kunstforum Mürzzuschlag,
… Austria, December 12th – 15th 2007
Producer: Orfeo Mandozzi for Arteviva Record Company
Sound engineer and Recording: Gábor Hajdu
CD-Edit: János Bojti and Boris Kuschnir
Piano tuning: Günter Langbein
Cover, Artist Photos & Artwork: Wolf-Dieter Grabner, theflow.cc
Booklet Text: Prof. Laureto Rodoni
English Translation: Ari Kernerman
German Translation: Rudolf Wimmer
Special thanks to:
Gustav Sych, Stingl Klaviere Vienna
© 2009, Arteviva … printed in Austria
Brahms, Trio No. 2 in C major
Brahms wrote the first movement of this trio in March 1880. The other movements were written in June and July of 1882. On August 1 Clara Schumann read the manuscript, and her response was enthusiastic: “What a gorgeous work it is! How much it enchanted me, and how eager I am to hear it again. Every movement is dear to me. What splendid development it has, and how one motif emerges from another! How adorable the Scherzo, then the Andante with the svelte Theme…How fresh the last movement, and with such artistic combinations.”
The Trio was first performed on August 25, 1882 in Altaussee; the first public performance took place on December 29 of the same year, by members of the Joachim Quartet.
The Trio is characterised by symphonic use of the piano. By then, Brahms had already composed two symphonies. Also noteworthy is the frequent use at the beginning of each movement of doubling in the strings, a non-expressive solution to giving more importance to the melody.
The first movement, Allegro, is in the usual sonata form, with two main themes and six secondary themes.
The Trio ends with a long and brilliant Coda, where Brahms uses only the first wonderful theme, from which derives also the development, with an effect of “vaporisation” that fascinated Rostand. Karl Geringer wrote, “This movement develops in such a natural way that one could think that after writing the first bars, Brahms just had to continue according to the rules inherent in the themes, in order to complete it.”
The Andante con moto has a solemn character, and uses Hungarian motives and rhythmical elements introduced by the strings playing in unison 2 octaves apart. This is followed by 5 variations of various characters. The third variation, with its majestic chords, is the expressive climax of the movement.
The Scherzo (Presto), often described as mysterious, fantastic, visionary, Nordic, is characterized by vast contrasts, partly harsh, at times whispered, and sometimes with a folk-like flavour.
The last movement, Allegro giocoso, playfully unifies the rondo and the sonata form, and indulges nonchalantly in “an orgy of motives and ideas” (Geringer). It consists of four episodes. In the first one there are four themes, which will also be used later. In the second one, Brahms uses the first and second theme. In the third part the four themes reappear in the same order. In the last part he uses the first theme and intensifies it. In the coda it is joined by the second theme and comes to a healthy and joyful ending.
It has been said that in 1885 Joachim passed severe judgement on Brahms, considering him an insincere person. Only a few hours later, he played this Trio with Barth and Hausmann. According to witnesses, it was a magnificent performance. When Joachim was asked how he could reconcile his admiration for the work with such dislike for the personality of its composer, he answered that the man and the composer are two different things, and he wouldn’t otherwise be able to play the music if he didn’t combine the two. Apparently Brahms had an influence on Yoachim
like a “force of Nature”.
Haydn, Trio No. 39 in G Major (Hob.XV.25).
Apart from some isolated works in the 1760s and the Trio Hob. XV:2 composed in 1772, the catalogue of Haydn Trios is divided in two distinct periods: works written before 1760 and those between 1784 and 1797. The neglect for over twenty years of this gender can be explained not by the needs of Nicolaus Esterhàzy, but probably because of the choice by the composer that except for the Baryton trios and the Piano Sonatas written for some of his students, the chamber music production during his work for this Hungarian Prince was mainly for String quartet.
The content and physiognomy of the fifteen compositions Hob. XV: 18-32 indicate a desire to use this genre to achieve a musical representation in his own artistic and spiritual world, between the 18th and 19th centuries. With the last trios Haydn elaborated the tradition of the past, bearing the fruits of the present, and aiming for the future to such extent that he presented a gender renewed to the point that “It proposes itself like an unedited creation for posterity. Therefore the style of these works can bend itself to classical revival as well as to more advanced experimental solutions.” (Maurizi)
The Trio No. 39 is not based on the sonata form. It is an unusual choice for the classical period. We are able to arrive at the date of composition of this Trio through some sketches in the manuscript of the second movement, on which references to the 12 London Symphonies are to be found. Haydn stayed in London between 1791 and 1795. This trio was probably written during his stay there, or shortly afterwards, which terminated his stay in the British Monarchy with a memorable concert on May 4, 1795. On August 15 he permanently returned in his homeland. Haydn described the London period as the happiest time in his life.
The initial Andante of this trio combines the rondo and the variation form revisited with the innocence but sensible awareness of the gentleness of the 18th century, in a dense dialogue, with good taste and poetry.
This is followed by a Poco adagio in a three-part form (A-B-transition-A) where definite elements of the “Sturm und Drang” are to be found.
The final Presto is a rondo in the “gipsy style”. It sticks out especially because it is preceded by two slower movements. Only Brahms revisited the extraordinary spirit and level of this movement in his Piano Quartet op. 25 in G major.
Schubert, Trio No 1 in B flat major Op. 99
Schubert wrote his first Piano Trio in the summer of 1827, at the residence of his friend, Franz von Schober. Just a couple of months earlier, on March 26, Schubert was in deep sorrow over the death of Ludwig van Beethoven, the composer he most venerated.
The first private performance took place in January 1828 (the year he died), which was a very productive period, during which he had plans for big projects and high hopes. The first public performance was given only several years after his death, in 1836, when Diabelli first publish the work.
Schumann was the first noteable admirer of this masterpiece. He wrote: “A glance at Schubert’s Trio – and the misery of mankind’s drifting vanishe,s and the world shines fresh again.”
The Trio is composed of four movements. The first, Allegro moderato, includes two themes. The initial theme reminds the listener of a call from a carriage attendant. It unleashes crisp energy, and seems to bring serenity over the troubles of life. The second theme, in F major is presented by a longing voice of the cello, and is subsequently taken over by the violin, followed by the piano, stressing its warmth. According to Einstein this first movement is a paraphrase of the Lied Des Sängers Habe (The Minstrel's Possessions) (1825). Not only the musical connection but also the spiritual connection is evident, especially in the first verses of the text: “Break my happiness into pieces / Take from me all I possess. Only leave me my zither and I will remain happy and rich!”
The principal theme of the second movement, Andante un poco mosso, is a dreamy, almost static melody, in opposition to the syncopated rhythm of the second theme, that expresses a light anxiousness in an instable tonal climate. Schumann wrote: “This movement has the visionary quality of a pleasant dream and the vivid pulse of a noble human emotion.”
The third movement, Scherzo: Allegro has the characteristic rhythmical elements of a Waltz, introduced by the piano. In the central Trio the rhythm actually becomes that of a Waltz.
The last movement, Allegro vivace, concludes this masterpiece with a gay and light-hearted rondo. In the coda the rhythm ferments into a possessed and wild finale. According to Einstein, the derivation from the Lied Skolie, written in 1815, is evident: Let us in the morning beams of May / rejoice in the life of flowers, / before their scent fades! These verses could be a subtitle not only for this rondo but also for the whole work, the most joyful and sprightly of his chamber music works, consisting of pure and crystalline lines.