|Ludwig van Beethoven|
Piano Trio No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 11 ‘Gassenhauer’, for violin, cello & piano
Piano Trio No. 8 in E flat major, WoO 38
Variations in G major on Wenzel Muller’s Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu, Op. 121a
Live from St. George’s Bristol.
This is the third of four fabulous concerts given by the Gould Piano Trio at St. George’s, Brandon Hill, Bristol and captured live on disc by SOMM. The concert recorded on this third Volume took place in February 2012 as part of a simultaneous live broadcast by BBC Radio Three for later transmission. The Gould Piano Trio are joined here by the popular clarinettist Robert Plane (former principal clarinettist of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the CBSO) who features in two of the three works on the CD.
Beethoven composed the Op. 11 Trio in B flat major in 1798 and scored it for piano, clarinet (or violin) and cello. It opens with a graceful Allegro con brio followed by a beautiful, lyrical Adagio 2nd movement. The Allegretto third movement opens with a delightful theme leading to a witty set of nine variations.
Beethoven originally composed the set of Variations on ‘Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu’ (‘I am the tailor cockatoo’) round about 1795, the year following the appearance of Wenzel Müller’s 1794 comic Singspiel Die Schwestern von Prag (‘the Sisters from Prague’), in which this soon-to-be-popular song may be found. Müller’s opera was revived in 1814 and its success prompted Beethoven to revise these ten variations worthy of the, by then, great composer. Each of the 10 variations seems to become more elaborate than its predecessor, and this brilliant work ends with a quasi-fugue as the music hurries to its delightful end.
The concluding work is a rarity: the Piano Trio version of the Septet Op. 20. The Septet was first performed in 1800 and became one of Beethoven’s most successful and popular works. It circulated in many editions and arrangements for different forces. In 1803 Beethoven himself arranged it as a Trio for clarinet (or violin), cello and piano, and this version was published as his Op. 38 in 1805. The music falls into the tradition of the instrumental classical serenade in that there are no fewer than six movements.
Gould Piano Trio Since winning first prize at both the Premio Vittorio Gui in Florence and the inaugural Melbourne Chamber Music Competition, while being promoted n Europe and the US as British ‘Rising Stars’, the Gould Piano Trio is now considered as one of the finest of its kind performing today. The Independent described its members as ‘master musicians’, and their widely diverse repertoire and ever-expanding discography display a strong stylistic conviction appreciated by audiences and critics alike. Concerts at major venues such as the Wigmore and Carnegie Halls and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and tours of North and South America, Europe and the Far East, as well as highly regarded educational projects, have introduced them to a wide and varied public. Having established their own annual festival with Robert Plane in the Northumbrian town of Corbridge, they enjoy exploring contrasting chamber music genres with their musical peers. Their first-hand experience of work with contemporary composers has led to the commissioning of many new works, the most recent being a piano trio from James MacMillan for premiere in 2014.