Tracing the lineage of great French composers, the Delphi Trio presents a program featuring the trios of Fauré, Roussel, and Ravel. Fauré composed his only piano trio, Op. 120, during his last years when deafness had isolated him to a large extent from the outside world. Fauré’s late works could not be mistaken for any other composer’s voice – a combination of passion and quiet ecstasy.

Albert Roussel’s early Piano Trio Op. 2 integrates the influence of his contemporaries such as Debussy, Dukas, Chausson, and Faure, while maintaining a strongly individual voice. The piece is written on a vast canvas that reflects Roussel’s seafaring years in the French Navy, with its watery introduction and ebullient outer movements. The second movement combines the popular and exotic – Parisian cafe meets Japanese tea garden. The plaintive lyricism of Roussel’s melodic writing may have influenced Ravel, though the former’s trio is essentially sunny in its character, written over ten years before the “Great War” changed the world forever.

Ravel’s Trio (1914) is undisputed as a landmark achievement of twentieth-century music and chamber music in general. The precision with which he crafts the architecture of the work contributes to its overwhelming impact as a dramatic journey. Musical inspirations range from Basque folk dance and Malaysian poetry to the ancient-sounding Passacaglia and the chilling fanfares of World War I. Yet, the piece remains unique to Ravel in its startling juxtapositions of childlike wonder and fantasy with the atrocities of war.

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Works to be performed on the “Les Français” program include:

Gabriel Fauré, Piano Trio in D Minor, Op. 120
Albert Roussel, Piano Trio in E-flat, Op. 2
Maurice Ravel, Trio in A Minor