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Trio for violin, cello, and piano (1980)

About the Work

Quick Look Composer: Petr Fiala
Program note originally written for the following performance:
Fortas Chamber Music Concert: Eben Trio (formerly Puella Trio) Thu., Mar. 29, 2012, 7:30 PM
© Peter Laki

Petr Fiala is primarily known a choral conductor; the Czech Philharmonic Choir in Brno, which he has directed since 1990, is an international touring and recording ensemble of great renown. But Fiala is also a prolific composer, with more than 180 compositions in his catalog, from large-scale works as operas and oratorios to chamber and solo compositions.

The present Trio, recently recorded on CD by the Puella Trio (Terezie Fialová, Lenka Matejáková, and Markéta Vrbková), packs great extremes in its four brief movements, just under 15 minutes in duration. The opening Allegretto is utterly playful, with a mosaic of fragmented rhythmic gestures gradually coalescing into a more sustained texture. Each of the middle movements combines several different characters in a highly condensed form. The Andante begins with a lyrical cello melody; the piano's chordal melodies (reminiscent of Schubert's Death and the Maiden) and the eerie glissandos of both piano and violin considerably broaden the emotional spectrum. The third movement starts out with a virtuoso cadenza for violin (with the piano eventually joining in), answered by a meditative Largo in the cello. The fast music of the violin and piano returns, but the movement ends with another, slightly more extended, Largo. In the final movement, the piano plays the opening cadenza, followed by an intensely rhythmical section where the three instruments play in counterpoint. Surprisingly, the motivic material of the second movement ("Death and the Maiden" and lyrical cello melody) return just before the end, to conclude the trio on a pensive note.