Robert Schumann

Robert Schumann (1810-1856)

Nationality: German
Born: June 8, 1810, Zwickau, Saxony Died: July 29, 1856, Endenich, near Bonn (age 46)

Piano Trio No. 3 in g minor, Op. 110

(for violin, cello and piano)
9:23 I. Bewegt, doch nicht zu rasch
5:31 II. Ziemlich langsam
5:27 III. Rasch
7:09 IV. Kräftig, mit Humor
Duration: 28 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 1851 (age 40-41)
Published: 1852, Leipzig: Breitkopf und Härtel (age 41-42)
Dedication: Niels Gade
11 recordings, 35 videos
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9:29
Horszowski Trio
I. Bewegt, doch nicht zu rasch
5:45
Horszowski Trio
II. Ziemlich langsam
4:19
Horszowski Trio
III. Rasch
7:17
Horszowski Trio
IV. Kräftig, mit Humor
7:41
Maggini Quartet
I. Bewegt, doch nicht zu rasch
4:31
Maggini Quartet
II. Ziemlich langsam
8:33
Maggini Quartet
III. Rasch
6:32
Maggini Quartet
IV. Kräftig, mit Humor
7:03
Artemis Quartet
I. Bewegt, doch nicht zu rasch
4:25
Artemis Quartet
II. Ziemlich langsam
7:57
Artemis Quartet
III. Rasch
5:44
Artemis Quartet
IV. Kräftig, mit Humor
10:39
Schweizer Klaviertrio
I. Bewegt, doch nicht zu rasch
5:43
Schweizer Klaviertrio
II. Ziemlich langsam
4:26
Schweizer Klaviertrio
III. Rasch
8:10
Schweizer Klaviertrio
IV. Kräftig, mit Humor
9:12
ATOS Trio
I. Bewegt, doch nicht zu rasch
6:02
ATOS Trio
II. Ziemlich langsam
3:58
ATOS Trio
III. Rasch
7:04
ATOS Trio
IV. Kräftig, mit Humor
10:28
Trio di Parma
I. Bewegt, doch nicht zu rasch
5:45
Trio di Parma
II. Ziemlich langsam
4:21
Trio di Parma
III. Rasch
7:36
Trio di Parma
IV. Kräftig, mit Humor
26:53
Trio di Bolzano
9:56
Tetzlaff, Tetzlaff, Andsnes
I. Bewegt, doch nicht zu rasch
6:09
Tetzlaff, Tetzlaff, Andsnes
II. Ziemlich langsam
4:31
Tetzlaff, Tetzlaff, Andsnes
III. Rasch
7:40
Tetzlaff, Tetzlaff, Andsnes
IV. Kräftig, mit Humor
28:30
Rachlin, Thedéen, Barnatan
30:04
Eusebius Pianotrio
11:01
Altenberg Trio
I. Bewegt, doch nicht zu rasch
6:00
Altenberg Trio
II. Ziemlich langsam
4:26
Altenberg Trio
III. Rasch
7:41
Altenberg Trio
IV. Kräftig, mit Humor
From Kai Christiansen

Robert Schumann, 1810-1856

Piano Trio No. 3 in g minor, Op. 110, 1851

Robert SchumannThe trio opens with one of Schumann's finest sonata movements. Sweeping, bold and dark, a long, articulated melody with arpeggiated flourishes establishes the key motifs that saturate the movement. There are two primary themes. The second is characteristically softer and more lyrical but complemented by a variation of the obstinate arpeggio as a counterpoint. The development features a delicious surprise: a deft, fugato episode with the tiniest shard of a subject, pointed pizzicato and a chromatic countersubject seamlessly derived from a background piano figure. The concluding bars whip the drama into a turbulent froth that evaporates in suspense, the air charged with tiny sparkles recalling the fugato with a Mendelssohnian magic.

The word "Romantic" has many connotations. First, there is the soft lit, languorous sharing of the hearts between two lovers in sumptuous privacy. Schumann's slow movement gives us this setting: an exquisite operatic duet for violin and cello with all the loving and intertwined filigree these instruments can "sing." Its motion sustains a gentle, romantic waltz. But "Romantic" in the sense of Schumann's historical period and artistic style implies a much broader adventurousness than "romance". Drama, heroism and tragedy, the wild snares of natural passion and bold juxtapositions are the qualities of Schumann's music that make it quintessentially romantic. The same slow movement embodies this as well: in the midst of a quiet pas de deux, a dark chromatic mountain rears its stormy head. There is danger and challenge ahead along with a dizzy memory of the swirling arpeggio from the trio's first bars. Schumann the storyteller succumbs to a hallucination. The storm abates, a rose petal softly drops on the linen, and Schumann cradles us back into a dream.

One central vein in the Romantic tradition is literary. Schumann the reader, the writer and the storyteller was also the great composer of character pieces, little tableaux like illustrated pages in a book with narrative suggestions and recurring dramatis personae. The final two movements show this aspect of Schumann in a series of short studies running through a scherzo with two trios and a lengthy, episodic rondo marked "energetically, with humor." There are suggestive thematic links between the two movements and each tells a kind of fairy tale in multiple acts. The finale features more dance and multiple instances of Schumann's inspired inclination for the march, proud and valorous, as well as foolhardy and satirical. This patchwork of miniatures includes some final amorous swells and even an additional colorful swatch of fugato for an entr'acte. A most dramatic trio in g minor ends with a carnival. Schumann composed this third piano trio towards the end of his life, a time in which he was unquestionably in the grips of incipient madness. The trio is sometimes criticized for its haphazardness and repetition yet it is studded with jewels and suffused with a personality that is so recognizably and purely Schumann's. Who will listen perchance to truly follow his phantasmagoric musical imagination through this tale of emphatic visions?

© Kai Christiansen Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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