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Selected Clarinet, Cello and Piano Trios: Unknown or Forgotten

By Phyllis Jane Crossen-Richardson


The clarinet, violoncello, and piano trio is an important and viable chamber music genre. While many people are familiar with the Ludwig van Beethoven and Johannes Brahms clarinet trios, few know many others. Through my research I found more than 125 trios for this combination. From the 74 scores previewed, I selected nine trios from the last two centuries as the focus of this project, "Selected Clarinet Trios: Unknown or Forgotten." From the Classical period I selected Archduke Rudolph's Trio and Anton Eberl's Grand Trio, Op. 36. These trios are good examples of Classical performance style written by composers who were important historic figures and wrote several compositions for the clarinet. They highlight both the lyrical and virtuosic aspects of the clarinet while providing alternatives to the period's better-known clarinet trios. From the Romantic period I featured Louise Farrenc's Trio, Op. 44 and Carl Frühling's Trio in A moll, Op. 40. Farrenc's clarinet trio has stylistic elements from both the Classical and Romantic periods as well as German and French influences. In contrast Frühling's Trio in A moll is a late Romantic work, which showcases the best qualities of Romantic-style clarinet. Five trios are from the 20th century. Robert Muczynski's Fantasy Trio, Op. 26 has distinctive motifs, transparent textures and lively asymmetric rhythms using the clarinet's large range and variety of musical sounds to enhance the combination of American music with "Bartokian" rhythms. Like a film score, Nino Rota's Trio (1973) features the lush harmonies and instrumental blends of the instruments depicting different characters and moods. Henryk Górecki's Recitativa i Ariosa "Lerchenmusik," Op. 53 highlights the unique sound qualities, alone and in concert, through his organic Polish-folk inspired minimalist style. Stephen Dankner's Trio (1991) takes the clarinet trios from Brahms to the neo-Romantic present providing beautiful lyrical passages for the clarinet while incorporating the influences and essence of American jazz. Daniel Lochrie's Phantasms (1994, rev. 2002) features a variety of rhythmic and lyrical passages combined with the tasteful use of contemporary clarinet techniques within a traditional framework

Topics: Music, Trios, Clarinet, Cello, Piano
Year: 2004
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