Triosatz after Brahms op. 101

Triosatz after Brahms op. 101

Triosatz after Brahms op. 101

for piano trio

Program Notes

After Longleash, a New York based piano trio, gave a splendid performance of my earlier piece, Spiky Epiphanies, I took the liberty of asking if they might be interested in having a new work from me. They said they would, and invited me to participate in a project of theirs, commissioning relatively short pieces which are essentially commentaries on great pieces in the piano trio repertory. I was fascinated by this, as I greatly enjoy working with found material (although usually folk songs). I was initially attracted to the great trios by Ravel and Tchaikovsky but after some discussion settled on the wonderful Trio in C minor, opus 101, by Brahms.

Brahms is one of my most important models as a composer, especially in the way he will extract maximum use from his ideas. In most of his works he has a relatively small number of pithy, concentrated themes and motives, but develops them constantly in endlessly inventive ways. This is especially true in the C-minor Trio. I have compressed this already compressed work even further, taking themes from three of the four movements and working them into a one-movement piece which lasts only 8 minutes. None of the ideas is presented, even initially, in the manner in which Brahms did, and the development is constant. I have striven for Brahms-like textures and a structure he might have approved of, but certainly the harmonies and instrumental usage are entirely my own. In its short duration, Triosatz explores a wide variety of tempos and moods, as well as an extremely wide dynamic range.

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