Movement 1: Allegro
Movement 2: Andante
Movement 3: Allegretto
Indeed, this trio has a rather more ‘domestic’ feel than those Mozart wrote earlier in the year. It is simpler and shorter, perhaps aimed deliberately at the amateur market rather than for Mozart himself to play. Some writers have been disappointed to find this lighter work at the end of Mozart’s sequence of trios, and it is true that it says what it has to say without unnecessary complication. But Mozart at his most direct is just as difficult to play as Mozart at his most subtle and complex. He gives the impression of having put every note in precisely the right place, creating elegant and lyrical structures that require absolute clarity and precision. And if one imagines eavesdropping on friends playing at home, rather than the formality of concert presentation, this elegant and charming piece seems completely in its element.
The first movement is a fluent and rippling Allegro, with a second theme which is very closely related to the first, and a middle section that, rather than develop existing material, starts with an entirely new theme (as in the earlier two trios). These are examples of the subtle ways in which Mozart subverts expectations, even in an apparently straightforward piece of music. The Andante is a set of variations on a melody almost like a slow minuet, though with a hint of sadness in the harmonies of its last few bars. And the finale opens with a naïve little tune in the dotted rhythm of a siciliano. Its very simplicity enables Mozart to suggest shifts of mood with the deftest of touches: a move to a minor key clouds the atmosphere while maintaining the lively rhythm; another episode swings the music into a peasant dance. And the ending is a delight, with the instruments answering each other in wistful counterpoint, suggesting, as so often in Mozart, that deeper thoughts were all the time lurking beneath the tranquil surface.
from notes by Robert Philip © 2006