A piano trio is a group of piano and two other instruments, usually a violin and a cello, or a piece of music written for such a group. It is one of the most common forms found in classical chamber music. The term can also refer to a group of musicians who regularly play this repertoire together; for a number of well-known piano trios, see below.
Works titled "Piano Trio" tend to be in the same overall shape as a sonata. Initially this was in the three movement form, though some of Haydn's have two movements. Mozart, in five late works, is generally credited with transforming the accompanied keyboard sonata, in which the essentially optional cello doubles the bass of the keyboard left hand, into the balanced trio which has since been a central form of chamber music. With the early 19th century, particularly Beethoven, this genre was felt to be more appropriate to cast in the four movement form. Piano trios that are set in the Sonata tradition share the general concerns of such works for their era, and often are reflective directly of symphonic practice with individual movements laid out according to the composer's understanding of the sonata form.
In the Classical period, home music-making made the piano trio a very popular genre for arrangements of other works. For example, Beethoven transcribed his first two symphonies for piano trio. Thus a large number of works exist for the arrangement of piano, violin and violoncello which are not generally titled or numbered as piano trios, but which are nonetheless part of the overall genre. These include single movements as well as sets of variations such as Beethoven's Variations on 'Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu' Op. 121a and Variations in E flat major Op. 44.
After the classical era, works for piano and two instruments continue to be written which are not presented as in the sonata tradition, or are arrangements of other works. Many of these individual works are popular on concert programs, for example Suk's Elegie.
For individual articles treating works for piano trio, see Category:Compositions for piano trio.
The piano trios of the Classical era, notably those of Haydn, are dominated by the piano part.The violin plays the melody only a certain amount of the time, and when it does, is often doubled by the piano. The cello part is very much subordinated, usually just doubling the bass line in the piano. It is thought that this practice was quite intentional on Haydn's part and was related to the sonority of the instruments of Haydn's day: the piano was fairly weak and "tinkling" in tone, and benefited from the tonal strengthening of other instruments. Mozart's five late (K 496 and later) trios are generally felt to mark the assured arrival of the form, attentive to balanced voices and three-part dialogue.
Beethoven's trios continued the compositional objectives inaugurated by Mozart. The new idea of equality was never implemented completely; the extent to which it is realized varies from one composition to the next, as well as among movements within a single composition. Certainly by the mid nineteenth century, all three instruments had been modified to have a very powerful sound, and each can hold its own in a modern ensemble.
The earlier trios are now frequently performed and recorded using authentic instruments, of the kind for which they were originally written. Such performances restore the sonic balance the composer would have expected, and have proven popular.
Some rather rare combinations of instruments have nonetheless inspired a few outstanding works.
Among the best known of such groups are or have been:
The term "piano trio" is also used in jazz, where it most commonly designates a pianist accompanied by bass and drums. Other Jazz trios exist, such as piano, bass and guitar.
Isaac Stern was an American violinist.
In music, a cadenza is, generically, an improvised or written-out ornamental passage played or sung by a soloist or soloists, usually in a "free" rhythmic style, and often allowing virtuosic display. During this time the accompaniment will rest, or sustain a note or chord. Thus an improvised cadenza is indicated in written notation by a fermata in all parts. A cadenza will usually occur over the final or penultimate note in a piece, the lead-in or over the final or penultimate note in an important subsection of a piece. It can also be found before a final coda or ritornello.
A concerto is a musical composition generally composed of three movements, in which either one solo instrument or a group of soloists (concertino) is accompanied by an orchestra or concert band. Its characteristics and definition have changed over time. In the 17th century, sacred works for voices and orchestra were typically called concertos, as reflected by J. S. Bach's usage of the title "concerto" for many of the works that we know as cantatas.
Sonata, in music, literally means a piece played as opposed to a cantata, a piece sung. The term evolved through the history of music, designating a variety of forms until the Classical era, when it took on increasing importance. Sonata is a vague term, with varying meanings depending on the context and time period. By the early 19th century, it came to represent a principle of composing large-scale works. It was applied to most instrumental genres and regarded—alongside the fugue—as one of two fundamental methods of organizing, interpreting and analyzing concert music. Though the musical style of sonatas has changed since the Classical era, most 20th- and 21st-century sonatas still maintain the same structure.
A string quartet is a musical ensemble consisting of four string players – two violin players, a viola player and a cellist – or a musical composition written to be performed by such a group. The string quartet is one of the most prominent chamber ensembles in classical music; most major composers from the mid 18th century onwards having written string quartets.
Chamber music is a form of classical music that is composed for a small group of instruments—traditionally a group that could fit in a palace chamber or a large room. Most broadly, it includes any art music that is performed by a small number of performers, with one performer to a part. However, by convention, it usually does not include solo instrument performances.
The Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance has been awarded since 1959. The award has had several minor name changes:
Sonata rondo form is a musical form often used during the Classical music era. As the name implies, it is a blend of sonata form and rondo form.
D major is a major scale based on D, consisting of the pitches D, E, F♯, G, A, B, and C♯. Its key signature consists of two sharps. Its relative minor is B minor and its parallel minor is D minor.
In music theory, B-flat major is a major scale based on B♭, with pitches B♭, C, D, E♭, F, G, and A. Its key signature has two flats. Its relative minor is G minor and its parallel minor is B-flat minor.
D minor is a minor scale based on D, consisting of the pitches D, E, F, G, A, B♭, and C. Its key signature has one flat. Its relative major is F major and its parallel major is D major.
E minor is a minor scale based on E, consisting of the pitches E, F♯, G, A, B, C, and D. Its key signature has one sharp. Its relative major is G major and its parallel major is E major.
Discography for the cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
The Piano Trio in B-flat major, Op. 11, was composed by Ludwig van Beethoven in 1797 and published in Vienna the next year. It is one of a series of early chamber works, many involving woodwind instruments because of their popularity and novelty at the time. The trio is scored for piano, clarinet, and cello. The key of B-flat major was probably chosen to facilitate fast passages in the B-flat clarinet, which had not yet benefited from the development of modern keys systems. Beethoven dedicated the piece to Countess Maria Wilhelmine von Thun.
Among the fairly large repertoire for the standard piano trio are the following works:
A solo concerto is a musical form which features a single solo instrument with the melody line, accompanied by an orchestra. Traditionally, there are three movements in a solo concerto, consisting of a fast section, a slow and lyrical section, and then another fast section. However, there are many examples of concertos that do not conform to this plan.
Homotonal (same-tonality) is a technical musical term pertaining to the tonal structure of multi-movement compositions. It was introduced into musicology by Hans Keller. According to Keller's definition and usage, a multi-movement composition is 'homotonal' if all of its movements have the same tonic (keynote).
Yona Ettlinger was a clarinetist who played and taught in Israel, France and England. Ettlinger is considered a prominent classical clarinetist of his generation, and one of Israel's notable instrumentalists. His musicianship and unique sound influenced the art of clarinet playing in Israel and Europe in the second half of the 20th century. Many clarinet soloists and orchestra players of different countries were among his students.
Leonard Hokanson was an American pianist who achieved prominence in Europe as a soloist and chamber musician. Born in Vinalhaven, Maine, he attended Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts and Bennington College in Vermont, where he received a master of arts degree with a major in music. He made his concert debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the age of eighteen. Drafted into the U.S. Army after graduate school, he was posted to Augsburg, Germany. He achieved early recognition as a performer in Europe, serving as a soloist with such orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, and the Vienna Symphony. He was awarded the Steinway Prize of Boston and was a prizewinner at the Busoni International Piano Competition in Bolzano, Italy. His numerous international music festival appearances included Aldeburgh, Berlin, Echternach, Lucerne, Prague, Ravinia, Salzburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Tanglewood, and Vienna.