Henry Litolff

Henry Litolff (1818-1891)

Nationality: French
Born: August 7, 1818, London Died: August 5, 1891, Bois-Colombes (age 73)

Piano Trio No. 2 in E-flat major, Op. 56

(for violin, cello and piano)
11:42 I. Allegro
6:11 II. Scherzo. Allegro vivace
7:57 III. Andante
5:39 IV. Finale. Prestissimo
Duration: 32 minutes (approximately)
Published: 1840 (age 21-22)
From Edition Silvertrust

Henry Charles Litolff Henry Charles Litolff (1818-1891) was a keyboard virtuoso and composer of Romantic music. Litolff was born in London, the son of a Scottish mother and an Alsatian father. His father was a violinist who had been taken to London as a prisoner after being captured while fighting for Napoleon. Litolff's first music lessons were with his father, but when he was twelve he played for the famous pianist Ignaz Moscheles, who was so impressed that he taught the boy without charge. (Moscheles had also taught Mendelssohn) Litolff's promise was indeed realized, and he enjoyed a very successful concert career throughout Europe, and was widely considered one of the leading pianists of his time. Liszt was so deeply impressed by Litolff's talent that he dedicated his first Piano Concerto to him. The two were good friends. Besides performing, Litolff also taught. Among his many students was the famous Wagner protégé and conductor, Hans von Bülow. He founded the well-known publishing house of Litolff Editions. His most notable works were his four piano concerti "Concerto Symphoniques" and his three piano trios.

"Listening to Litolff's music is an extraordinary and surprising experience. There are times when Litolff is the equal of Beethoven, other times when he is the equal of Liszt and especially times when he is equal of Mendelssohn. Hard to credit, perhaps, but true as a hearing of his piano trios reveals."
The Chamber Music Journal

Piano Trio No.2 in E flat Major, Op.56 was composed in 1850. The opening very dramatic, romantic and fetching Allegro is dominated by its dotted rhythm and showing the influence of Schumann. The second movement is a lively and playful Scherzo, allegro vivace, happy and fleet which also has the aura of Schumann about it. Next comes an Andante calm and peaceful. Its main theme is a very vocal melody, perhaps based on a folksong. The finale, Prestissimo, starts almost as if in mid-measure. It races along with incredible forward motion, whirling about with hardly a moment to catch a breadth.

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

Related Composers

1800 Ignaz Moscheles (1794-1870) Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) Robert Schumann (1810-1856) Franz Liszt (1811-1886) Henry Litolff (1818-1891)