Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Beethoven: Piano Trios: "Ghost" and "Archduke"

In today's post, we'll take yet another short break from symphonic works, and a return to some more beautiful works of chamber music.
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Piano Trio in D major, "Ghost"

Piano Trio in B flat major, "Archduke"
The Geister Trio
Deutsche Grammophon, 1970
Beethoven's symphonies certainly get the bulk of attention from listeners, in part because in many peoples' view, he brought the symphonic composition to a point of utter perfection (although some might say ponderous imperfection). But his chamber music is considered equally as important from an artistic standpoint--and quite frankly, it's quite a bit more relaxing to listen to.

Today's musical selections are piano trios, which consist of a violin, a cello and a piano. Or more accurately stated, a fortepiano, which was the a predecessor to the modern piano, and was the instrument in use in Beethoven's day.

Beethoven was also considered one of the greatest fortepiano players of his era, and in addition to piano trios, he composed a 32 piano sonatas (these are works for solo piano) which were renowned for their technical difficulty. We'll listen to some of these piano sonatas in the coming months.

These trios are so beautiful, austere and elegant, it's almost impossible to believe how quickly Beethoven wrote them: Beethoven composed Ghost in 1808, the same year he composed his Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, and he composed the Archduke trio in just one month's time, in 1811.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These were composed in the Romantic Era...think Keats and Shelley.

And I personally feel that "Ghost" is one of the sexiest pieces of chamber music ever composed! :)