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Thread: String Trios

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    Senior Member ChamberNut's Avatar
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    Default String Trios

    Once again, I've got to mention Dohnanyi's Serenade for String Trio, Op. 10 It blew me away. What a wonderful chamber work! It was great because each of the three instruments had much to say, and weren't leaving the floor to the violin.

    I know string trios are kind of a dinosaur, and obviously took back seat to string quartet writing, but this oft ignored genre of chamber music deserves a thread.

    This is the only string trio that I've heard thus far. I know Beethoven's are well regarded, in addition to Mozart's and Schubert's. Are there other composers who wrote these?

    Anyways, I'd like some recommendations since I'm not very familiar with this area.

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    Senior Member Oneiros's Avatar
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    Have a go at Corelli's Trio Sonatas, if you don't mind a bit of the old Baroque. They're always making us listen to Op. 3 No. 2 at uni, which is quite a nice one.

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    A lot of good string trio writing came out of what's commonly (and sometimes inappropriately) called the neoclassical movement. Some that immediately come to mind are ones written by:

    Jean Francaix, Darius Milhaud, Alexandre Tansman (he wrote two but I think the first was lost).

    The Dutch composers Henk Badings and his student Hans Kox also explored this medium. Badings wrote trios that could be played either by strings or by other instruments. For example, his Trio no. 4 is arranged for two oboes and an English horn OR the tradition violin/viola/cello setting.

    More on the modern, post-serialist end would be the unbelievably good trio by Charles Wourinen.

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    Senior Member ChamberNut's Avatar
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    Welcome to TC, indutrial!

    And thank you for those recommendations.

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    Senior Member Mark Harwood's Avatar
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    This is one reason why I visit this forum. Things like this crop up. Corelli wrote trio sonatas; the genre never crossed my mind and now there's something new to investigate.
    Thanks, people!
    "Music is a social act of communication among people, a gesture of friendship, the strongest there is."
    - Malcolm Arnold.

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    Senior Member oisfetz's Avatar
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    Almost everybody -me included- consider Mozart's Divertimento K.563 for
    strings trio, the greatest work written for this combination.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChamberNut View Post
    Welcome to TC, indutrial!

    And thank you for those recommendations.
    You are welcome.

    In a lot of ways, the approach to traditional chamber music (a component of classicism) is kind of a dinosaur, at least in terms of musical discourse. It requires a measured level of conservatism and respect for the past to resurrect a format that came from the classical era. These days musicians and composers are more and more spoiled by the ability to "be themselves" (to a fault) and so show less and less hommage to older forms. The string trio is certainly one of the casualties here, as is the piano trio and even the string quartet to a lesser extent. You rarely see a repertoire of new music that espouses older forms these days.

    I think that the twentieth century may have been the heyday for forms such as this and people should give more attention to the composers who worked with them before they went obscure.

    Here are some others that are interesting:

    Anton Webern's op. 20
    Arnold Schoenberg's op. 45
    John Harbison's Trio Sonata
    Paul Turok's op. 7
    Ellen Zwilich's String Trio (1984?)
    Krzysztof Penderecki's String Trio (1991)

    I mentioned Milhaud's trio before but he also wrote another shorter work called the Sonatine a Trois, op. 221B for violin, viola, and cello that is very excellent. I read somewhere that he penned this work during the duration of a train ride from San Francisco to Chicago and he had penned op. 221A (a violin duo) on the initial trip to SF. Talk about prolific!

    Another favorite of mine, Bohuslaw Martinu, has two trios to his name. Based on how completely excellent everything I've heard from him is, I would certainly not hesitate to recommend looking into those also.

    I also like works that use the string trio as a specific entity in a larger group. A really great piece that I studied not too long ago was Jean Francaix's Quartet for English horn and string trio. I would highly recommend checking this work out. It's a fun, jazz-ish piece that really makes great use of the string trio as a compliment to the nasal tone of the English horn.

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    Senior Member oisfetz's Avatar
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    Sergei Taneyev also had some very fine string trios

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    schubert had a great string trio as well,but beethoven string trios are just great!!

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    There are two very fine String Trios composed by Heinrich von Herzogenberg, a composer of the late 19th century and a friend of Brahms.

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    Senior Member jurianbai's Avatar
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    mostly a classical stuff I got, especially huge catalog by Boccherini. My current listening is Max Reger's String Trio, included in Mannheimer string quartet cd along with the quartet.

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    Default string trios

    I forgot to mention two more late 19th century trios that are enjoyable. A String Trio by Robert Fuchs, and one bt Carl Reineck. Robert Fuchs was a very good friend of Brahms, but sad to say out lived his times. Reineck was one the most important teachers of his time.

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    Senior Member Taneyev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quartetfore View Post
    There are two very fine String Trios composed by Heinrich von Herzogenberg, a composer of the late 19th century and a friend of Brahms.
    Have the two op.27 Nº1 and 2, and also a fine string quintet C minor op.77. Good romantic stuff.
    Another fine string trio is Vissarion Shebalin's op.4
    Last edited by Taneyev; Nov-05-2011 at 01:07.

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    Default I agree!

    Coincidentally, I purchased the Dohnanyi String Trio just this morning...it is wonderful!


    Quote Originally Posted by ChamberNut View Post
    Once again, I've got to mention Dohnanyi's Serenade for String Trio, Op. 10 It blew me away. What a wonderful chamber work! It was great because each of the three instruments had much to say, and weren't leaving the floor to the violin.

    I know string trios are kind of a dinosaur, and obviously took back seat to string quartet writing, but this oft ignored genre of chamber music deserves a thread.

    This is the only string trio that I've heard thus far. I know Beethoven's are well regarded, in addition to Mozart's and Schubert's. Are there other composers who wrote these?

    Anyways, I'd like some recommendations since I'm not very familiar with this area.

  17. #15
    Senior Member Taneyev's Avatar
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    Best recording of Dohnanyi IMO (and one of the best recordings of a string trio ever made) was Heifetz-Primrose-Feuermann (1941). Simply extraordinary.

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