Piano Trio in A major Hob. XV:18
Piano Trio in D major Op. 70 No. 1 »Ghost«
Piano Trio in E flat major D 929
Along with the string quartet, the piano trio is among the most demanding of chamber music. The three musicians Kolja Blacher, Clemens Hagen and Kirill Gerstein – acclaimed by critics and celebrated by audiences – devote themselves to this genre, which they view as one of their key artistic areas in the field of chamber music.
Joseph Haydn provided the first important contributions to the genre. His Trio in A major, Hob XV:18, published in 1794 during his second trip to London and dedicated to the just widowed Maria Anna Esterházy, was still described by him as a “sonata”. With good reason: The piano very much dominates this work, with the two string instruments in a subordinate, doubling role.
With his Geistertrio, written 13 years later, Beethoven created in contrast a work which appears to have a certain relationship to Shakespeare’s nightmarish drama Macbeth with its witches and other supernatural phenomena. In a sketch for the modest second movement Largo, there are notes for a planned setting of that bloodiest of all Shakespearean tragedies.
In its expression, the work clearly anticipates moments in Franz Schubert’s music who, with his 1827 Trio in E flat major D 929, created what is probably most monumental work of the piano trio repertoire – a work that both in terms of its truly symphonic dimensions and in the complexity and wealth of its thematic material, holds a unique position to this day.