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Trio for violin, cello and piano in D minor, op. 101 no. 2 (Antoine Reicha)

Date

1824

Description

Allegro non troppo – Minuetto : Allegro – Andantino – Finale : Allegro assai

Text

In 1824, Reicha published his Six Grands Trios Concertants for piano, violin and cello, op. 101, twenty years after his Piano Sonata with violin and cello accompaniment, op. 47. Although the forces used were identical, the difference in title points to a change of perspective, which is outlined in the preface to the new opus: “When composing these trios, I set out to combine the three instruments in such a way as to ensure they formed, so to speak, a single whole, and to make each of them in this union as interesting as possible. The piano part cannot stand out to the exclusion of the other instruments. In line with the composer’s intentions, it has frequently had to serve as an accompaniment either for the violin, or for the cello, or indeed for the two instruments together: this is why the piano only becomes wholly interesting when it joins forces with the other two parts. You must not therefore judge the merit of these trios solely by the piano in isolation.” Beethoven may well have influenced this development, especially as Reicha’s style marks a distance from Viennese classicism. Consequently, his Trio no. 2 begins in an anxious, restless mood that forms a contrast with the cantabile second theme, whose cheerful verve eventually sweeps it into the coda. Entitled Minuetto, the second movement is more like a scherzo inspired by some popular ländler. The Andantino occasionally abandons its elegant lyricism for a more forceful sostenuto declamation. The dialogue between the three instruments becomes more tightly knit in the finale, like an animated conversation which, with its conclusion in D major, relaxes the tension of the overall work.