French Musical Treasure
Ludwig van Beethoven
PIANO QUARTET in E-Flat Major, Op. 16
LITTLE BITS for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano (2000)
Nancy Van de Vate
TRIO for Clarinet, Viola and Piano (2014)
PIANO TRIO in A Minor, Op. 34
Beethoven composed his Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 16 in 1785, when he was only 15 years old. It was one of three piano quartets he wrote that year in what was then a new and rarefied musical form. The piano had still not emerged as the dominant concert keyboard, and Mozart had just written his passionate Piano Concerto in D minor to expand the new instrument's capabilities. This early chamber work exemplifies the passionate, highly lyrical and original ideas of the young composer.
Nancy Van de Vate (b. 1930) is an American composer with more than 200 works recorded and published around the world. She founded the International League of Women Composers in 1975. Her Trio for clarinet, viola and piano is mysterious, impassioned and filled with emotion. The seemingly endless harmonies overlap each instrument, only to give way to impetuous rhythms.
For Cecile Chaminade (1857-1944), the world was largely unaccepting of composers who were women. Her considerable talents as a composer and a pianist highly impressed Georges Bizet, and a review in 1903 said of her, "This is not a woman who composes, but a composer who is a woman." Her Piano Trio in A minor captures the passionate contrasts of late 19th century romanticism.
Stacy Garrop (b. 1969) wrote Little Bits for clarinet, violin, cello and piano in the summer of 2000 at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. As she recalled, "Each composer who came to the Center wrote a piece while in residence. Given the brevity of time in which to write, I chose to compose super-short movements, each focusing on a specific set of parameters, colors and textures. For instance, the first movement deals with a 12-tone row while the second is a short tribute to American composer George Crumb. The piece concludes with a slightly longer movement that is both a whirlwind and a smorgasbord of three different bits."