Wednesday, July 21, 2021
In October of 1797, a 26-year-old Beethoven was steadily gaining a reputation around Vienna as a fierce pianist with a gift for improvisation strengthened by successful performances of his first two piano concerti. Just three years earlier, he had published his very first opus, a set of three bold piano trios that had already expanded the genre in scope, virtuosity and expression particularly as four-movement works after the string quartet or symphony rather than the three-movement trios of Mozart or Haydn.
1797 also witnessed the debut of Joseph Weigl’s comic opera L’Amor Marinaro (The Corsair) featuring a popular tune Pria ch’io l’impegno (Before beginning this awesome task, I need a snack) that would eventually inspire numerous variation sets by composers such as Hummel and Paganini. But Beethoven would be first. Apparently started in 1797 and published the following year, Beethoven’s Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano, Op. 11 offered a rather “genteel” work in three movements featuring a theme and variations finale on the jaunty tune frequently heard by night revelers about town, hence, the trio’s occasional nickname, “Gassenhauer” (Street song).
(notes by Kai Christiansen)
Here is the same trio performed with violin, cello & piano at a Schiller Institute NYC Chorus event on April 25, 2021.
Beethoven: Trio, Opus 11 - https://vimeo.com/553536660/db5b8188bd
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