Schubert’s two piano trios were composed late in his short life (his only trio prior to these is the short B flat trio movement D28 of 1812), probably in late 1827 and the summer of 1828, the year of his death. They are vast works, worthy of Schumann’s comment on Schubert’s Ninth Symphony of being of ‘heavenly length’.
Although structured along similar lines to Beethoven’s piano trios, Schubert’s trios inhabit a different world to the older composer’s ‘Ghost’ or ‘Archduke’ works. Beethoven revelled in drama and complex and ingenious textures. Schubert concentrates instead on beautiful tunes, and eloquent dialogues between the three players. The music of the Austrian countryside permeates these works, and although they date from Schubert’s last months, they contain little of the world weariness and desolation of Winterreisse, the late sonatas or the proto-Mahlerian slow movement of the Tenth Symphony D936a.
- Klavier Trio Amsterdam was formed in 1990, and their recording of Mendelssohn’s Piano Trios was praised by International Record Review magazine as ‘the best CD of the year 2000’.