Piano Trio No.1 in E flat major Op.1/1

Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven (b. 1770 - d. 1827)
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Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven (b. 1770 - d. 1827)

Performance date: 05/07/2017

Venue: Bantry Library

Composition Year: 1795

Duration: 00:30:17

Recording Engineer: Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm

Instrumentation Category:Piano trio

Artists: Johannes Moser - [cello]
Viviane Hagner - [violin]
Barry Douglas - [piano]

Beethoven
came to Vienna in 1792 to study with Haydn, who remained his teacher
until his departure for England in 1794. Haydn then arranged for him
to continue his studies with Johann Albrechtsburger, a noted teacher
of counterpoint. Many of Beethoven’s exercises survive and they show
him as having trouble with the subtleties of the rules of
counterpoint. His teacher described him as
so
bent on having his own way that he had to learn many things through
hard experience which he had refused earlier to accept through
instruction.
He
had three lessons a week from this stern teacher, as well as
thrice-weekly violin lessons from Schuppanzigh. All this instruction
left little time for completing new works but for 1795 Beethoven had
different plans:
This
year must determine the complete man – nothing must remain undone.

The
works completed in 1795 include the three piano trios Op.1, the three
Op.2 piano sonatas, the String Trio Op.3, two extended songs
including
Adelaide
and
the C major Piano Concerto. His plan was to publish these works in
quick succession, thus making a determined assault on the Viennese
public, who already knew him as a virtuoso pianist. The assault was
perhaps not as organised as Beethoven would have wished, for he wrote
the
Rondo
for
the C major Concerto two days before the concert with four copyists
in the next room copying out the parts as he composed them. It was
after this performance that he made a complicated arrangement with
the leading Viennese publisher Artaria for the subscription
publication of his Op.1 trios. This was so successful that Beethoven
made enough money from this one venture to live on for the next year.
The set of trios was dedicated to his patron Prince Lichnowsky, who
ordered no fewer than twenty copies.

The
grand and elevated style of these trios is in direct contrast to
those of Haydn and Mozart, which are much more domestic affairs.
Beethoven seems to be preparing the way for a symphony rather than
writing a work to be played in the family circle. The richness of the
texture, the elegance of the melodies and the urgency of the rhythmic
drive all set this work apart from what had gone before. Beethoven at
this early stage in his career is already employing specific features
that we associate with the mature composer. He uses lengthy codas to
resolve thematic instabilities; he adds a
scherzo
to
the traditional three movements; he sets out to explore remote key
relationships and to contrast a wide range of moods; and he always
seems to be looking at the far side of the horizon.

Haydn,
just back from his triumphant second visit to England, was at the
premiere of Beethoven’s Opus 1. It seems his reservations were
overcome by the general enthusiasm for the works, but it is
noteworthy that Haydn’s last group of trios, to be published two
years later, looked firmly backwards and ignored the new directions
that his pupil had embarked on.