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All Listed Works Edition Silvertrust
Jean Sibelius

Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)

Nationality: Finnish
Born: December 8, 1865, Hämeenlinna Died: September 20, 1957, Järvenpää (age 91)

Piano Trio No. 4 in C major, JS 208, "Loviisa Trio"

(for violin, cello and piano)
7:07 I. Allegro
3:32 II. Andante - Più lento - lento
5:10 III. Allegro con brio
Duration: 16 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 1888 (age 22-23)
Note: "Loviisa" or "Lovisa"
3 recordings, 9 videos
autoopen autoplay
7:04
Jaakko Kuusisto, Marko Ylönen, Folke Grasbeck
I. Allegro
4:06
Jaakko Kuusisto, Marko Ylönen, Folke Grasbeck
II. Andante - Più lento - lento
4:50
Jaakko Kuusisto, Marko Ylönen, Folke Grasbeck
III. Allegro con brio
7:04
Lowbury Piano Trio
I. Allegro
2:53
Lowbury Piano Trio
II. Andante - Più lento - lento
5:29
Lowbury Piano Trio
III. Allegro con brio
7:13
Arai, Kimanen, Lagerspetz
I. Allegro
3:36
Arai, Kimanen, Lagerspetz
II. Andante - Più lento - lento
5:03
Arai, Kimanen, Lagerspetz
IV.
From Kai Christiansen

Jean Sibelius, 1865-1957

Piano Trio No. 4 in C Major, JS 208, "Loviisa”, 1888

Jean Sibelius is an important early 20th century composer recognized for his outstanding orchestral music including his brilliant contributions to Finnish Nationalism. His celebrated works, very much still active in the repertoire, include tone poems (e.g. Finlandia, the Karelia Suite, Valse triste , The Swan of Tuonela, etc.), a very popular violin concerto and seven stunning symphonies. As such, it might appear that, much like other late Romantic composers (e.g. Bruckner, Mahler, Strauss, etc.), Sibelius had little to do with chamber music. Of his mature music, one typically encounters but a single work: the exquisite string quartet subtitled “Voces intimae”, composed in his mid-forties. But a closer examination of his earlier years reveals the young Sibelius of the 1880’s who, in his late teens and early twenties, was an aspiring violinist playing and composing chamber music. At the time, he was a member of a string quartet as well as a piano trio along with his siblings Alice and Christian. In the last two decades of the 19th Century, Sibelius composed at least twenty-two chamber works including four numbered piano trios. The best works of the period are first-rate revealing a skillful and imaginative composer.

The fourth and last of the piano trios bears Sibelius’s own subtitle “Loviisa” referring to the southern coastal town where he and his siblings would spend summers with their extended family, engage in domestic music making, and the place where Sibelius composed the trio in 1888. Written when Sibelius was twenty-three, the trio demonstrates a shift from the predominantly classical orientation of his earlier trios into the more passionate and formally expansive realm of romanticism. Within its relatively compact duration, the trio features a wonderful range of color and thematic expression with very effective chamber textures and individual parts bordering on the virtuosic. The music is frequently exuberant or darkly emphatic in a way that one is tempted to call youthful, perhaps ambitious, but it is genuine, successful and eminently winning throughout. The first movement follows a traditional sonata form where mood is predominantly fresh and effulgent, animated by a persistent lilting march impulse. By strong contrast, the second movement is melancholy, stark but richly expressive with the reprise gaining greater depth and urgency by the florid embroidery from the cello. In between the two “verses”, Sibelius writes a short fugue that inserts a more static and curiously neutral contrast that quells the first part and, as a foil, helps enflame the second. Another rather sparse and neutral bridge connects the second movement to the final without pause. The brilliant and flashy last movement fairly rocks with another kind of lilt: a swift triple meter infused with the spirit of folk dance. Much of it echoes the darker mode of slow movement, albeit charged with greater momentum and a series of compelling rhythmic “grooves” that add spice and suspense. But the surging momentum eventually waxes bright and victorious, emerging and concluding triumphantly.

© Kai Christiansen Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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