On December 14, the Los Angeles Piano Trio graces the stage of the Mary Seaton Room at Kleinhans with a program showcasing the evolution of piano trios by Mozart, Beethoven, and Chausson. Mozart’s Piano Trio in E major was one of three piano trios he wrote in 1788. In each, the composer narrowed the traditional dominance of piano to give equal importance to strings. Amazingly, Mozart also composed his last three symphonies in that year.
The Beethoven Piano Trio in D major was written in 1808 when the composer was coming to terms with his increasing deafness. The piece was written in Heiligenstadt, then a small village near Vienna, where the composer spent a pastoral six months on the advice of his doctor. Written between the Sixth and Seventh Symphonies, Piano in D major was dubbed the Ghost Trio by Beethoven’s student, Carl Czerny because of its unusual and eerie second movement.
Ernest Chausson was a French composer who studied with Jules Massenet and Cesar Franck at the Paris Conservatory and his Piano Trio in G minor reveals the influence of both mentors. He was also inspired by the bold harmonies of Wagner and often visited Bayreuth to hear his operas. Chausson composed the trio in Switzerland in 1881 when he was just twenty-six. He also wrote an opera, a symphony, and many other highly regarded compositions but his work was unexpectedly cut short when he tragically died in a cycling accident at forty-four. Founded in 2020, Los Angeles Piano Trio features Margaret Batjer, violin; Andrew Shulman, cello; and pianist Fabio Bidini, whom we last saw in September with the BPO in a masterful performance of Ravel’s 1931 Piano Concerto in G major.