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(Amédée-)Ernest  Chausson

Ernest Chausson (1855-1899)

Nationality: French
Born: January 20, 1855, Paris
Died: June 10, 1899, Limay (age 44)
wikipedia

Piano Trio in g minor, Op. 3

(for violin, cello and piano)
10:42
I. Pas trop lent - Animé
4:06
II. Vite
8:37
III. Assez lent
8:35
IV. Animé
Duration: 33 minutes (approximately) - hide movement times
Composed: 1881 (age 25-26)
Published: 1919, posthumously
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7 recordings, 25 videos
10:10
Beaux Arts Trio
I. Pas trop lent - Animé
3:57
Beaux Arts Trio
II. Vite
8:24
Beaux Arts Trio
III. Assez lent
8:34
Beaux Arts Trio
IV. Animé
10:31
Jet Röling, et. al.
I. Pas trop lent - Animé
4:08
Jet Röling, et. al.
II. Vite
7:25
Jet Röling, et. al.
III. Assez lent
8:10
Jet Röling, et. al.
IV. Animé
11:18
Meadowmount Trio
I. Pas trop lent - Animé
4:04
Meadowmount Trio
II. Vite
9:32
Meadowmount Trio
III. Assez lent
8:58
Meadowmount Trio
IV. Animé
10:55
Stuttgart Trio
I. Pas trop lent - Animé
4:25
Stuttgart Trio
II. Vite
8:15
Stuttgart Trio
III. Assez lent
7:54
Stuttgart Trio
IV. Animé
30:56
Trio di Bolzano
11:19
Trio Wanderer
I. Pas trop lent - Animé
4:07
Trio Wanderer
II. Vite
9:43
Trio Wanderer
III. Assez lent
8:53
Trio Wanderer
IV. Animé
10:27
Yuval Trio
I. Pas trop lent - Animé
4:06
Yuval Trio
II. Vite
8:13
Yuval Trio
III. Assez lent
8:50
Yuval Trio
IV. Animé

From Kai Christiansen:

Ernest Chausson, 1855-1899

Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 3, 1881

Ernest ChaussonIf you are interested in exploring the canon of French chamber music, you might pursue a tempting chronological thread by cherry-picking one composer per decade revealing this sequence: Franck, Saint-Saëns, Fauré, Chausson, Debussy and Ravel. Even if you restricted yourself to piano trios, you would have a goldmine. Of these names, Chausson is easily the most obscure. He died young at the age of 44 (from a bicycling accident) and he left a relatively small oeuvre comprising an opera, a symphony, some songs and a clutch of chamber works, of which his most well known is the Concert for violin, piano and string quartet. Composed in 1881 when Chausson was 26, this "youthful" piano trio is a hidden treasure of great beauty and significant craft. Representing a renaissance of distinctively French chamber music launched by Chausson and his compatriots in the late 19th century, the trio offers a fresh perspective on music otherwise dominated by German romanticism and French opera.

Chausson studied with Jules Massenet and César Franck at the Paris Conservatoire and his trio clearly reveals elements of both composers, especially Franck. But during these same years, Chausson traveled to Munich to drink from the cup of Wagner and became, like many of his French fellow composers, including a young Debussy, intoxicated. At this stage in his career, Chausson's music might well be described as a late romantic admixture of Wagner and Franck, tempered by a characteristic French clarity, vitality and love of sonority. Chausson's later chamber music only emphasizes this unique blend pushing further into the extremes of late romantic unresolved chromatic splendor.

The four-movement work opens with a somber introduction pregnant with significant motives that recur in the third and fourth movements, creating a "cyclic" work in the manner of Franck. An animated sonata follows that reveals Chausson's familiarity with Mendelssohn, Schumann and Brahms but tinged with a new language of cool, widely modulating harmonies. Throughout the trio, the rich and virtuosic piano writing is essential to the texture and the rhythmic drive while maintaining an active role in the thematic dialog.

The short scherzo movement likewise begins with an atmospheric introduction that soon gives way to a lively "seafaring" tune that magically invokes both Wagner and, even more so, Dvořák. Less of a scherzo and trio, it is a sparkling intermezzo with a highly blended set of contrasting themes with full color and warm lyricism.

The slow movement is a languorous poem, sinuous, chromatic and unresolved over long strands of modulation, like the suspended dreams of both Chopin and Wagner. The main theme is a slowed-down version of a principle motive from the opening measures of the trio that will appear once again at the conclusion of the piece as a somber framing device. The mood here is too complex to describe. It is, by turns, melancholy and rapturous, introspective and yearning. It ends in a sigh of great repose.

This genial "populist" character of the scherzo is resumed in the charming finale, an elegant waltz with a bubbling lilt. A dancing rondo in a major key, it nearly dispels the notion of a minor ruling key that was so strong in the first and third movements. Yet, classically speaking, in this context, all good things tend to come to an end. First, a recall of the slow movement's floating modulations destabilizes the waltz. Huge dramatic swells interject a hyper-romantic excitation and the dance, more delirious, suddenly gives way to the alarming chromatic descent of the opening theme, a return to the dark elegiac nature where the trio began and will, most definitely, end.

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




From Silvertrust:

Ernest Chausson Ernest Chausson (1855-1899) was born in Paris into a wealthy family. Although he received some musical training as a boy, a career in music was never envisaged by either his father or himself. He studied law and became a barrister but realized he had no interest in the law. After dabbling in writing and painting, he decided to study music and entered the Paris Conservatory in 1879 where he studied first with Jules Massenet and later César Franck. His friend Vincent d’Indy introduced him to the music of Wagner. Scholars generally divide his work into three periods, early, middle and late. His very early works tend to show the influence of Massenet. In those which come later there is also the influence of Franck and Wagner.

The Piano Trio in g minor was begun in 1881 just after he had stopped studying with Massenet and just about the time he entered Franck’s class. It is usually considered an early work, yet, at times, it already shows the influence of Franck. It is in four movements. Introduction and Allegro, Intermezzo, Andante and Finale. The opening movement With its thick textures, dark harmonic progressions and abrupt dynamic changes reveals the influence of César Franck. The piano provides a restless underpinning to the strings as they trade motivic phrases in a dark, intense minor mode. The second movement is a short and jaunty scherzo of rustic character. Here a fast piano part is juxtaposed against a slow supporting theme in the strings. After the lightness of the scherzo the third movement, marked Assez lent, has an elegiac character. At first the piano begins but is soon joined by the cello in a plaintive aria, building tension until the violin takes over the melody. In the finale, Franck’s influence and his use of cyclic themes can be heard. The music begins simply in an upbeat mood though the earlier mood of gloominess does return toward the end of the trio.

It is surprising that this fine work has not achieved a permanent place in the concert repertoire. We have reprinted the original edition, however, we have improved the page turns in the cello part which heretofore were impossible for performance purposes.

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

Ernest Chausson and related chamber music composers
1850 1900 // last line 1967 César Franck (1822-1890) Jules Massenet (1842-1912) Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) Vincent d'Indy (1851-1931) Ernest Chausson (1855-1899) Eugène Ysaÿe (1858-1931) Claude Debussy (1862-1918) Gustave Samazeuilh (1877-1967)
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