(Jakob Ludwig) Felix  Mendelssohn (Bartholdy)

Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)

Nationality: German | Jewish
Born: February 3, 1809, Hamburg
Died: November 4, 1847, Leipzig (age 38)
wikipedia

Piano Trio No. 1 in d minor, Op. 49

(for violin, cello and piano)
I. Molto allegro agitato
II. Andante con moto tranquillo
III. Scherzo. Leggiero e vivace
IV. Finale. Allegro assai appassionato
Composed: 1839 (age 29-30)
Duration: 28 minutes (approximately)
11 recordings, 40 videos
9:14
Trio Con Brio Copenhagen
I. Molto allegro agitato
6:34
Trio Con Brio Copenhagen
II. Andante con moto tranquillo
3:41
Trio Con Brio Copenhagen
III. Scherzo. Leggiero e vivace
8:28
Trio Con Brio Copenhagen
IV. Finale. Allegro assai appassionato
27:04
Beaux Arts Trio (complete)
9:45
Benvenue Fortepiano Trio
I. Molto allegro agitato
6:27
Benvenue Fortepiano Trio
II. Andante con moto tranquillo
3:55
Benvenue Fortepiano Trio
III. Scherzo. Leggiero e vivace
9:11
Benvenue Fortepiano Trio
IV. Finale. Allegro assai appassionato
9:26
Claremont Trio
I. Molto allegro agitato
6:19
Claremont Trio
II. Andante con moto tranquillo
3:40
Claremont Trio
III. Scherzo. Leggiero e vivace
8:36
Claremont Trio
IV. Finale. Allegro assai appassionato
9:40
Fischer, Müller-Schott, Gilad
I. Molto allegro agitato
6:59
Fischer, Müller-Schott, Gilad
II. Andante con moto tranquillo
3:32
Fischer, Müller-Schott, Gilad
III. Scherzo. Leggiero e vivace
8:31
Fischer, Müller-Schott, Gilad
IV. Finale. Allegro assai appassionato
9:17
Guarneri Trio
I. Molto allegro agitato
6:20
Guarneri Trio
II. Andante con moto tranquillo
3:41
Guarneri Trio
III. Scherzo. Leggiero e vivace
8:44
Guarneri Trio
IV. Finale. Allegro assai appassionato
10:19
Nash Ensemble
I. Molto allegro agitato
8:01
Nash Ensemble
II. Andante con moto tranquillo
3:51
Nash Ensemble
III. Scherzo. Leggiero e vivace
9:09
Nash Ensemble
IV. Finale. Allegro assai appassionato
10:00
Perlman, Ma, Ax
I. Molto allegro agitato
6:16
Perlman, Ma, Ax
II. Andante con moto tranquillo
3:53
Perlman, Ma, Ax
III. Scherzo. Leggiero e vivace
8:57
Perlman, Ma, Ax
IV. Finale. Allegro assai appassionato
7:05
Rubinstein, Heifetz, Piatigorsky
I. Molto allegro agitato
6:20
Rubinstein, Heifetz, Piatigorsky
II. Andante con moto tranquillo
3:31
Rubinstein, Heifetz, Piatigorsky
III. Scherzo. Leggiero e vivace
9:18
Stern, Rose, Istomin
I. Molto allegro agitato
6:37
Stern, Rose, Istomin
II. Andante con moto tranquillo
3:44
Stern, Rose, Istomin
III. Scherzo. Leggiero e vivace
8:15
Stern, Rose, Istomin
IV. Finale. Allegro assai appassionato
10:04
Wha Chung, Tortelier, Previn
I. Molto allegro agitato
6:40
Wha Chung, Tortelier, Previn
II. Andante con moto tranquillo
3:45
Wha Chung, Tortelier, Previn
III. Scherzo. Leggiero e vivace
8:31
Wha Chung, Tortelier, Previn
IV. Finale. Allegro assai appassionato

From Kai Christiansen:

Felix Mendelssohn, 1809-1857

Piano Trio No. 1 in d minor, Op. 49, 1839

Felix MendelssohnWritten in 1839, the first of two piano trios, Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio in d minor is probably his most well known chamber composition and easily his most beloved. The first two movements alone deliver more lyrical melody than entire works from other composers. Unlike his classical forebears with their penchant for shorter motif-based themes, Mendelssohn builds his first movement sonata with two themes, both of them expansive, multi-phrase songs of surprising completeness. What is more, these memorable tunes are naturally given to the perfect pair of instruments, the cello and violin. Singing individually in dialogue and combining in harmony and counterpoint, their complementary ranges and timbres imbue much of the work with the intertwined duality of lovers.

To make this duo a trio, Mendelssohn writes an equally memorable piano part, arguably the most distinctive aspect of the trio. Here, despite his common reputation as a conservative classicist, Mendelssohn speaks the true language of his romantic context, writing for the intimate character piece as well as the passionate virtuoso. True throughout the work, this is nowhere more apparent than with the second movement Andante that begins with a delicate melody from the solo piano with all the grace and charm of his numerous piano miniatures collected under the title “Songs without Words”. Thus begins the dreamy point of repose in the trio, another instance of memorable lyricism in a distinctive style for which the work is cherished.

Felix MendelssohnIf he hadn’t yet stamped the trio with his recognizable signature, Mendelssohn did so with the scherzo, as he always tends to do. Fleet, mercurial, devilishly virtuosic, the third movement begins with the a delightful premise in the solo piano that quickly integrates the violin and cello into a perfect romp of equal partners that flows seamlessly from beginning to end. The seamlessness is due not merely to the perpetual motion of the music but to the noteworthy fact that this scherzo has no formal trio. Still, the form is ternary with a middle “portion” characterized by intensified drama, a cloudy storminess that perturbs the otherwise unchecked mirth of the outer sections.

Despite its famed lyricism, the trio as a whole is full of driving energy, from the restless agitation of the first movement to the animated dance of the scherzo to the powerful forward rush of the finale. Several times, this force and the texture of the ensemble erupt into music of tremendous weight with nearly orchestral proportions. It almost defies its context within a piano trio, or, put another way, demonstrates what power the piano trio really holds. This is particularly so in the final movement. But this never dominates; rather, it grows organically out of a constantly changing chamber texture that simultaneously offers some of the most clearly etched delicacy one finds in all chamber music. It is the fluid and perfectly constructed balance of these polarities within his music that makes Mendelssohn’s art so wonderful, so well crafted, so natural, direct and “easy”.

© Kai Christiansen. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

scores