Trio Alba | Franz Schubert: Piano Trio in E-flat major D 929 & Notturno D 897
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Trio Alba | Franz Schubert: Piano Trio in E-flat major D 929 & Notturno D 897


We have first met as students in Graz. Each one of us was studying his own instrument for himself and several times we were making chamber music together in various constellations. One day we found out that the three of us together made a good team possessing special energy. We have had the opportunity and the time to try something and to see whether we would match both personally and in music, and Thank God it has actually worked out quite well with us. And that has been a wonderful opportunity which rarely presents itself when one has finished one’s studies at the university, and it has turned out a splendid foundation for our present work. Schubert’s trio in E flat major has accompanied us from the beginning. During the years of our common musical experiences we have played and performed it all over again, and every time we discovered that we had obtained a deeper understanding of the work and that somehow we always had to start anew, but on a higher level. The piece has opened up to us a new world and has provided us with a more profound understanding of the possibilities, the variations and, of course, the difficulties of chamber music, and so after nine years we decided to have the piece recorded in order to see what we had learned in all these years and in which respect we have succeeded to develop further. Especially of Schubert one can say that as soon as the language of the single phrases is properly rendered and the single words are, so to speak, pronounced correctly, the entire text is becoming much clearer, in particular if studied along the composer’s manuscript the facsimile of which we have been exploring carefully. Even during recording we used to recur to the original. This was a true revelation and something entirely different from simply depending on a printed edition that somehow appears neutral and devoid of individuality. Has the music been written in a neat hand, is the handwriting rather sketchy, is it at one point rushing forward, at another point wild, at still another point rather reserved or stately, is it majestic, or how does a spiccato have to be rendered? In all these respects the manuscript reveals so much more than the printed edition. to have access to the faksimile, that’s really great and was one of the main reasons again to say – okay, that’s perhaps what will give a special touch to our recording. The second movement of the trio in particular conveys the sensation of the inexorability of destiny and of death. The piano starts with a theme representing inevitability as the basis, while further above the violoncello is singing of life. Confronted with death life appears all the more valuable, and that’s the idea to which this music is giving particular expression. Schubert wrote the two great trios and the Notturno in his last year of life. One might say that this was rather late, but in reality he was then only thirty years of age. For several years already he had known that he would not live much longer. Still he possessed an unbelievable creative energy in these years, and to me the works for piano trio convey this overwhelming joy of living and at the same time a sense of eternity, of the beyond, a sensation of another world. In my opinion there coexist various moods in this music. There is never an unambiguous feeling. Instead contrasting feelings are simultaneously present, feelings of the world in which we live, and feelings of a world beyond.

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