Haydn’s boundless imagination and wit are on display in his over forty piano trios, and this Trio in F major is one of his most ebullient, compact essays in the genre.

Bedřich Smetana’s Piano Trio in g minor, Op. 15, dates from 1855 during a time of personal upheaval and grief. Having lost two daughters to illness within a year of each other, Smetana began work on this piano trio which embodies the emotional climate surrounding its creation. From the visceral outcry of the violin that opens the work, the trio includes a variety of folk inspired songs and dances including a magical scherzo alternating with a tender melodic theme, and a funeral march at the end of the third movement. This work is profoundly human in its combination of light and darkness; it is in the end, a celebration of life.

Schubert’s Trio in B-flat, Op. 99 bears almost none of the darkness which filled the ailing composer’s life at this time, and yet it has a poetic depth of its own. Robert Schumann wrote, “One glance at Schubert’s Trio (Op. 99) and the troubles of our human existence disappear and all the world is fresh and bright again.”

——-

Works to be performed on the “Light and Shadow” program include:

Haydn, Trio in F major, Hob. XV:6
Smetana, Trio in g minor, Op. 17
Schubert, Trio in B-flat Major, Op. 99, D. 898