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Ries: Piano Trios

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Audio CD, March 22, 2005
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Piano Trio in E flat major, Op. 2: Adagio con moto - Allegro
  2. Piano Trio in E flat major, Op. 2: Andante un poco Allegretto
  3. Piano Trio in E flat major, Op. 2: Rondeau - Allegro
  4. Piano Trio in C minor, Op. 143: Allegro con brio
  5. Piano Trio in C minor, Op. 143: Adagio con espressione
  6. Piano Trio in C minor, Op. 143: Prestissimo

Product Details

  • Orchestra: Mendelssohn Trio of Berlin
  • Composer: Ferdinand Ries
  • Audio CD (March 22, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: CPO
  • Run Time: 55 minutes
  • ASIN: B0007ORDPY
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #144,294 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Born in Bonn to a musical family, Ferdinand Ries (1784-1848) arrived in Vienna penniless with a letter of introduction to Beethoven, who had been taught by Ries’ father. Working as a secretary and copyist, Ries became a student and eventually one of Beethoven’s closest friends.

Both of these piano trios follow the traditional 3 movement structure, fast slow fast, although the early Trio in E Flat, Op.2 employs a slight variation. Haydn often began his symphonies with a leisurely intro, but seldom if ever did he start one of his 45 piano trios that way. Ries does, opening his compound first movement with a somber ’Adagio con moto’ in minor before giving way to the following ‘Allegro’. As a student of all 3 instruments, he gives the string voices more responsibility and uses them with more assurance than did Haydn, particularly the cello.

As the jaunty ‘Allegro’ develops, the piano assumes the lead role while the string duo interjects their own musical ideas. Drifting back into minor and a more contemplative tone, the movement features several false endings, possibly as a homage to Haydn, and covers a wide range of moods as it assumes a symphonic sweep foreshadowing the coming Romantic sensibility.

Tinged with the melancholy of minor, the dramatic ‘Andante’ contains a strummed final chord in the primary theme, revealing a decidedly Spanish flavor. After a lovely interplay between the two strings, the keyboard reasserts control as the movement shifts in and out of major, delving into introspective meditation before a striking conclusion with a pianissimo pizzicato exclamation point. Initiated with the ebb and flow of darting finger runs, a light hearted ‘Rondeau Allegro’ closes the trio.
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