Movement 1: Allegro
Movement 2: Andante cantabile
Movement 3: Allegro
The first movement of the trio opens confidently, with assertive octaves played by all three instruments, answered delicately and questioningly by the piano. Soon there are flamboyant runs in both piano and violin suggesting that, despite the opening exchange, this trio is going to be uncomplicated in tone. The central development draws out rather a different story. The contrasts of the opening return, the assertive octaves are now in minor keys and alternate with sighing phrases and chromatic shifts. The piano attempts to introduce more flamboyant arpeggios, but the sighing phrases persist, and when the assertive opening theme returns, one is left with the feeling that there is an element of bravura in the confidence. This sense is reinforced by the occasional hesitant touch of minor keys during the reprise and the return of the sighing phrases as the overtly cheerful movement works towards its conclusion.
Similar dark hints also colour the slow movement. The calm of the opening theme is disturbed by sudden accents. A second, more expansive theme, is taken up yearningly by the cello, and a delicate third theme is coloured by dark chromatic touches in its harmonies. It is the middle of the movement that takes us furthest away from the calm decorations of the opening melody. The three instruments combine in octaves once more, but now fiercely. Florid runs from the beginning of the movement are answered by snatches of the expansive second theme, but now combined with shifts of harmony that create a more searching and unsettled impression.
The third movement has the innocent charm of several of Mozart’s piano concerto finales. There are more little chromatic touches in the principal theme, but by now they are playful rather than serious. There is a central episode in C minor, in which variants of the opening figure call to each other from instrument to instrument, and the movement begins to take on a suggestion of Beethoven-like urgency. But this is short lived, and Mozart works back to C major, side-stepping the first theme to plunge straight into the middle of the opening material. When he does eventually return to the first theme, it has acquired witty little decorations, which take on a mock-clumsy air when imitated by the violin. And at the end of the movement, one of the hesitant chromatic moments from the early part of the movement is reiterated, delaying the music in its tracks. But the emphatic conclusion, with the three instruments combining cheerfully in octaves for the last time, makes it clear that any dark elements have by now been thoroughly vanquished.
from notes by Robert Philip © 2007