Composed by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi in 1736 in the final weeks of Pergolesi’s life. It is scored for soprano and alto soloists, violin I and II, viola and basso continuo (cello and organ).
The work was composed for a Neapolitan confraternity, the Confraternita dei Cavalieri di San Luigi di Palazzo and is one of Pergolesi’s most celebrated sacred works, achieving great popularity after the composer’s death.
Jacqui Miles violin, Trevor Burley cello, Bethe Levvy piano
Haydn: Trio No. 39 (Hob. XV:25)
Haydn’s Trio was written in 1795, during the final few weeks of Haydn’s second trip to London, and one of a set of three (H. XV:24–26) dedicated to Rebecca Schroeter. It is perhaps his best-known piano trio and sometimes nicknamed the “Gypsy” or “Gypsy Rondo” trio because of its Rondo finale in ‘Hungarian’ style.
Schubert: Piano Trio No.1 in Bb (D.898)
The Trio No. 1 in B-flat major for piano, violin, and cello, D. 898, was written by Franz Schubert in 1827. The composer finished the work in 1828, in the last year of his life. It was published in 1836 as Opus 99, eight years after the composer’s death. Like the E-flat major trio, it is an unusually large scale work for piano trio, taking around 40 minutes in total to perform.
Trio Amici is an exciting and energetic group formed by three successful professional musicians from various branches of the musical world, whose paths have converged in the Oxford area.
Their individual expertise and experience, combined with their passion and enjoyment for performing chamber music, is establishing their prestigious reputation with local audiences. Performing an eclectic repertoire, spanning the Classicism of Beethoven and Schubert, the Romanticism of Brahms and Mendelssohn, through to the French Impressionism of Debussy and Ravel.
In the Six Impromptus (1890-93) we find reminiscences of Sibelius’s journey to collect traditional runes in Karelia. Kantele (traditional Finnish and Karelian plucked string instrument) influences and dance tunes from eastern Finland and Karelia can be observed in the pieces. In this connection it is well to remember that Sibelius could play the kantele and that his performances have actually been documented. The opening, Impromptu no. 1 in G minor (Moderato). is an unaffected and melodious opening piece. Its theme has been regarded as “the musical symbol of Finland, Sibelius’s native country”.
With Brahms’ Chorale Prelude we have an example of late compositional work. Written for organ in 1896, the 11 Chorale Preludes Op. 122 were published posthumously. They are based on verses of Lutheran chorales. Number 10, based on the “passion” chorale, expresses the depths of the emotions implied by the text: “My heart is ever yearning for blessed death’s release”. The Preludes are a revealing document of Brahms’ thoughts on his own life. One biographer, Niemann, points out that most of the Preludes are: “A retrospect and an epilogue, a salutation to youth and its ideals, and a farewell to this world which is, after all, so fair”. Sombre as many of the Preludes are, they yet have a warm, autumnal quality that is all Brahms’ own.
In May 1909, a few months before the death of his mother, Busoni had lost his father. In his memory the son created an original work, poised and noble in tone, out of three organ pieces by Bach: Busoni’s way of thanking his father for an early introduction to the music of a composer he had been championing for years. The Fantasia after J S Bach (by ‘Bach- Busoni’, as the composer is identified on the cover page) is the first of his works that can be called a Nachdichtung—a work resulting from such a free transcription or adaptation of a model that it becomes original and independent in its own right.
Janácek revealed a very private and sensitive side of his musical personality when he composed In the Mists, a collection of four pieces for solo piano. Written in the winter of 1912-1913, the work came four years after the composer’s much longer collection, On an Overgrown Path. In the Mists has a feeling of introspection about it, as it were an entry in the composer’s musical “journal”; it lives up to its name by maintaining an air of distance, as if the piano were at times lost in a bank of clouds.
The five pieces that constitute Rachmaninov’s Morceaux de fantaisie, are not intended to be played as a group, and they represent a step forward toward Rachmaninov’s mature style. The Elégie in E flat minor is an epic and tragic work, with sweeping melodies, an imposing climax, and a fine melancholic atmosphere.