Beethoven’s Archduke Trio

beethoven

Beethoven’s first published works—his Opus No.1—were three trios for piano, violin and cello and already they show a marked advance on Haydn’s trios in the comparative interdependence of the three parts. Their freedom from Haydn’s oppressive formality looks forward to the first mature trios, the pair that comprises Opus 70, displaying all sorts of harmonic twists, thematic innovations and structural idiosyncrasies, these trios make much of the piano part and contain plenty of dramatic outbursts that are typical of Beethoven’s middle period.

Even more arresting is the first of the Opus 70 trios (1808) nicknamed ”The Ghost” because of its mysterious and haunting Largo. Its sibling boasts a cheerful bombastic finale that is the most entertaining music that Beethoven composed for this combination of instruments.

The “Archduke” Trio Opus 97 (1811) was Beethoven’s last full-scale work for piano trio and is typically conclusive. The third movement is its center of gravity, a highly moving set of variations with the cello dominating the thematic content. It opens with a hymn-like theme and progresses to a coda which magnificently sums up the movements ideas. The finale might be less powerful than that of Opus 70 No. 2, but it nevertheless has a sweeping rhythmic power. Again, it is beyond the shadow of a doubt that Beethoven defined the piano trio form that it retained throughout the 19th century by allowing the string instruments the status of genuinely equal partners in this superlative performance.

Read more at Ludwig Van Beethoven Piano Trios Opus 70 No. 2, Opus 97 “Archduke” | World Music Report.

September 17 ~ in Music History

today

• 1878 ~ Vincenzo Tommasini, Italian composer

• 1884 ~ Charles Tomlinson Griffes, American composer

• 1923 ~ Hank (Hiram) Williams, Sr., American country-western singer and songwriter. He was the first country musician whose music crossed over into pop and he wrote 125 compositions

• 1926 ~ Bill Black, Bassist with Bill Black Combo, played in Elvis Presley band, backup for Elvis

• 1929 ~ Sil Austin, Tenor saxophone, composer

• 1931 ~ RCA Victor began demonstrating a very early version of the long-playing (LP), 33~1/3 RPM phonograph record. It would be another 17 years before RCA rival Columbia would begin mass production of the LP.

• 1940 ~ LaMont McLemore, Singer with The 5th Dimension

• 1950 ~ Fee Waybill (John Waldo), Singer with The Tubes

• 1952 ~ Frank Sinatra sang at his final session with Mitch Miller and Columbia Records.

• 1955 ~ The Perry Como Show moved to Saturday nights on NBC~TV. Soon, U.S.A. audiences would “Sing along with me … I’m on my way to the stars…” with the incomparable Mr. C. Como’s hourlong variety show replaced his three-times-per-week, 15-minute show, which had been on the air since 1948. The new version of The Perry Como Show soon became Saturday’s highest-rated TV program, beating CBS competitor Jackie Gleason.

• 1955 ~ Capitol Records released Magic Melody, Part Two. The tune consists only of the last two notes of the musical phrase, “Shave and a haircut, two bits,” making it the shortest tune ever to be released.

• 1973 ~ Hugo Winterhalter passed away.  He was an American easy listening arranger and composer.

• 2002 ~ Michael “Dodo” Marmarosa, a jazz pianist who played with luminaries like Dizzy Gillespie, Tommy Dorsey and Buddy Rich in the 1940s before a military stint derailed his music career, died of a heart attack. He was 76. Marmarosa died at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Pittsburgh, where he lived the past few years, playing the piano and organ for other residents and guests. Marmarosa joined the Johnny “Scat” Davis Orchestra at age 15 in 1941. He then played with Gene Krupa’s band, Charlie Barnet’s big band, where he recorded “The Moose” and “Strollin”, and played with the great Gillespie. He played in Dorsey’s band in 1944, which included Buddy DeFranco, Sidney Block and Buddy Rich. And later that same year, Marmarosa joined Artie Shaw’s band. In 1947 Marmarosa was selected by Esquire magazine as one of the nation’s top jazz artists. Marmarosa disappeared from public view in the early 1950s after a series of personal tragedies and a stint in the Army.

• 2009 ~ Leon Kirchner, American classical composer (Pulitzer Prize for Music 1967), died at the age of 90

• 2015 ~ David Willcocks, English conductor and composer (Kings College Choir), died at the age of 95