Édouard Lalo

Édouard Lalo (1823-1892)

Nationality: French | Spanish
Born: January 27, 1823, Lille Died: April 22, 1892, Paris (age 69)

Piano Trio No. 3 in a minor, Op. 26

(for violin, cello and piano)
8:34 I. Allegro appassionato
4:32 II. Presto
9:38 III. Très lent
6:08 IV. Allegro molto
Duration: 29 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 1880 (age 56-57)
Published: 1881 (age 57-58)
6 recordings, 24 videos
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7:04
Trio Jean Martin
I. Allegro appassionato
4:18
Trio Jean Martin
II. Presto
9:29
Trio Jean Martin
III. Très lent
5:48
Trio Jean Martin
IV. Allegro molto
9:22
Quatuor Simon, Daniel Isoir
I. Allegro appassionato
4:19
Quatuor Simon, Daniel Isoir
II. Presto
10:15
Quatuor Simon, Daniel Isoir
III. Très lent
5:24
Quatuor Simon, Daniel Isoir
IV. Allegro molto
10:28
Trio Henry
I. Allegro appassionato
4:57
Trio Henry
II. Presto
8:48
Trio Henry
III. Très lent
6:43
Trio Henry
IV. Allegro molto
6:59
Trio Florilège
I. Allegro appassionato
4:33
Trio Florilège
II. Presto
9:37
Trio Florilège
III. Très lent
6:22
Trio Florilège
IV. Allegro molto
9:51
Gryphon Trio
I. Allegro appassionato
4:39
Gryphon Trio
II. Presto
8:50
Gryphon Trio
III. Très lent
6:17
Gryphon Trio
IV. Allegro molto
7:40
Trio Salomon
I. Allegro appassionato
4:26
Trio Salomon
II. Presto
10:48
Trio Salomon
III. Très lent
6:11
Trio Salomon
IV. Allegro molto
From Kai Christiansen

Edouard Lalo

Édouard Lalo, 1823-1892

Piano Trio No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 26, 1880

For much of the Classical and early Romantic eras, the outstanding French composers were primarily consumed with music for the theatre: opera, ballet and orchestral extrapolations. As such, a substantial tradition of French chamber music did not emerge until the late 19th century especially at the hands of such composers as Franck, Saint-Saëns and Fauré followed in a subsequent generation by Debussy and Ravel. There are numerous other composers in the historical mix but Édouard Lalo is particularly important. General music lovers will know him for the Symphonie espagnole and perhaps his cello concerto while, within France, he is famous for his grand opera Le roi d'Ys. But Lalo was among that first generation of French chamber music composers producing three piano trios, a string quartet, and a number of chamber duos including sonatas for violin and cello. Like many outstanding chamber music composers, Lalo was an accomplished chamber musician. As a professional violinist, in 1855 he became a founding member of the Armingaud Quartet whose mission was to raise chamber music awareness in France through performances of the solidifying canon, especially Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Schumann. Lalo composed the bulk of his chamber music in the surrounding decade between 1848 and 1859 where, with a combination of composing and performing, he was a pioneer. Still, Lalo faced challenge and disappointment in the genres that mattered and between a fallow period and the failure of his grand opera Fiesque, Lalo struggled through the mid 1870’s.

Lalo finally witnessed his rise to fame in the late 1870’s with fresh support for his efforts from the Société Nationale and performances of his concertos by important musicians, particularly the winning Symphonie espagnole by Sarasate. Lalo began work on his greatest opera and, after a lapse of nearly 30 years, returned to the piano trio genre. He completed his third (and final) Trio in A Major, Op. 26 in 1880 arguably creating the first truly great French piano trio in the grand style. Though Frank and Saint-Saëns had broken ground earlier, Lalo’s is unquestionably a finer achievement, a more supreme representative of the emerging French school. It is a curious footnote that the very same year, a 17-year-old Debussy, while tutoring in Russia, composed his one and only piano trio, a charming but uncharacteristic student work.

A powerful, rich, epic work, Lalo’s third trio seems to achieve a rare artistic unity across the span of its four movements. Though usually labeled as “in A Minor”, the overall harmonic and dramatic progression is worth summarizing verbally though its indescribable musical reality is left to be experienced directly. The first movement Allegro appassionato sweeps and surges in the firm dark orbit of A-minor with the characteristic, formal ephemera in the relative major. The second movement is a surprisingly blistering Presto scherzo in D-minor with, again, only temporary respite in a softer trio that nonetheless slightly prickles with pizzicato. The third and longest movement is the remarkable and profound heart of the trio. By turns gentle, tragic, brave and finally serene, it steadfastly navigates the fraught journey from darkness into light preparing the ground for the radiant and majestic exuberance of the finale, resolutely in A-major. Whether one finds anything specifically French in Lalo’s manner, one will surely recognize the influence of his great musical idol: Robert Schumann.

© Kai Christiansen Used by permission. All rights reserved.

From Edition Silvertrust

Édouard Lalo Nearly thirty years separate the third trio from his earlier two. During the intervening 30 years, French composers such as Lalo, Saint-Saëns and Fauré began to create a French sounding body of instrumental music. Lalo’s Third Piano Trio, dating from 1880, was one of the first works of its type, and as such, it marks a clear break with the earlier two trios . The main theme of the opening movement, Allegro appassionato, consists of a dialogue between the violin and the cello, with each instrument giving out only part of the theme. Slowly, the music does become more passionate by means of gradual dynamic increases. The overall effect is of water in a tea kettle coming to a boil, you can hear the climax coming. The next movement, Presto, is a fiery scherzo. Here, perhaps more than anywhere else in the trio, the newly emerging French school of instrumental composition is very apparent, both in the brilliant and turbulent scherzo and in its more sedate and relaxed trio. The slow movement is the longest. The main theme unfolds very slowly, like a flower shown in time-lapse photography. In the finale, Allegro agitato, Lalo begins with a powerful and captivating march-like melody. Two other excellent themes follow. A very fine work, which of course, should be heard in concert.

—Excerpted from The Chamber Music Journal.

Édouard Lalo (1823-1892) today, outside of France, is best known for his Symphonie Espagnole for violin and orchestra and perhaps his cello concerto. Within France, he is remembered for his opera Le roi d'Ys. Hardly anyone knows or has heard his excellent chamber music, which includes three very appealing piano trios and a string quartet. Lalo was born in Lille and studied at the local conservatory there before entering the Paris Conservatory, where he studied with the well-known French violinist and conductor, François Habeneck. Before he made a name for himself as a composer, for nearly two decades, Lalo made his living working as a violinist, and in particular, performing chamber music. If one considers this, it is perhaps not so surprising that he was able to write such attractive and finished chamber works.

© Edition Silvertrust. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Related Composers

1800 1900 WWI Pierre Baillot (1771-1842) Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) Robert Schumann (1810-1856) César Franck (1822-1890) Édouard Lalo (1823-1892) Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) Ernest Chausson (1855-1899) Claude Debussy (1862-1918) Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
Pierre Baillot (1771-1842)
Teacher
Nationality: French
Born: October 1, 1771, Passy Died: September 15, 1842, Paris (age 70)