Струнное трио Opus 9 №3 c-moll

Время создания: вторая половина 1797 или начало 1798 года.
Посвящено: Johann Georg Reichsgraf von Browne-Camus

1. Allegro con spirito
2. Adagio con espressione
3. Scherzo: Allegro molto e vivace
4. Finale: Presto

Мстислав Ростропович, виолончель
Anne-Sophie Mutter, скрипка
Bruno Giuranna, альт

If the Op. 9 Trios represent a leap forward for Beethoven in the chamber genre—and potentially in the symphonic realm, as well—this C minor work, which shares its key with several heroic compositions of the composer including the Fifth Symphony (and with the more contemporary Piano Sonata No. 5, Op. 10/1), stands as the most powerful and angst-ridden, if not the greatest, of the three—and quite the darkest and most intense. Some will also hear the work as the most symphonic in scope and the most profound. Still, the Op. 9/1 G major Trio may be the strongest of the three; indeed, Beethoven himself considered it the finest.

At the time the composer wrote these three Trios he was a bit hesitant to enter the realm of the symphony and may well have viewed them as a means to test his still-evolving ideas about development, structure and other elements associated with the sonata-allegro form.

The first movement of the C minor Trio is marked Allegro con spirito and begins with a four-note scale played by all three instruments. This unison opening seems to set the egalitarian pattern for the instruments, as none of the three is allowed a dominant role in the movement. The four-note motif appears throughout the movement, perhaps most dramatically to launch the development section, where it is heard in emphatic chords. The movement's thematic wares are developed here and the mood intensifies. The four-note theme appears as it did at the outset to initiate the reprise. The development and recapitulation are repeated and a vigorous coda closes the movement.

The second movement is marked Adagio con espressione and is somewhat dark and melancholy, containing elements of struggle and doubt, especially in the middle section. There are two themes, the latter of which is serene but tinged with a sorrowful aura. As suggested, the middle section features great intensity and a sense of struggle, with the music seeming to cry out in places. The themes return and the music ends quietly.

The third movement Scherzo is marked Allegro molto e vivace. The main theme has an anxious, rather typically Beethovenian hurried quality about it. But there is also something painful and agitated about its character. The trio section in contrast is reserved and nonchalant. The thematic material is reprised and the movement ends with a brilliant coda whose dynamics gradually soften to a whisper at the close.

The finale is a Rondo, marked Presto. In the first of the Op. 9 Trios, the G major, Beethoven broke with his own tradition of always making his Presto finales a Rondo. Here, he rehabilitates it with this movement, whose demeanor is driving and restless in the main theme, perhaps suggestive of darker elements. A second theme is presented that maintains the anxious, somewhat uncertain mood. The development section features some playfulness in the handling, especially of the main theme. The recapitulation follows but with many changes in the previous materials, and the work concludes with a coda whose pianissimo ending is brilliantly-wrought.

The C minor Trio was first published along with its Op. 9 siblings in Vienna in 1798, carrying a dedication to one of the composer's patrons, Count Johann Georg von Browne, an officer in the Russian Army. A typical performance of the C minor Trio lasts between twenty and twenty-five minutes.

(All Music Guide)