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String Trio in C minor Op.9/3

Ludwig van Beethoven (b. 1770 - d. 1827)

Composer
Ludwig van Beethoven (b. 1770 - d. 1827)
Composition Year
1797/8
Work Movements
1. Allegro con spirito
2. Adagio con espressione
3. Scherzo - Allegro molto e vivace
4. Finale - Presto
Artists
Siún Milne [violin], Triona Milne [viola], Paul Grennan [cello]

Programme Note Writer:
© Francis Humphrys

The winter of 1797/8 saw Beethoven complete the three Op.9 string trios, the three Op.10 piano sonatas, the Clarinet Sonata Op.11 and the three violin sonatas Op.12. All these works were commissioned, which gives some idea of the demand for his music and his ability to meet that demand. He was already in a position where he could cover his living expenses from his commissions alone. On top of this he would have been paid performance fees for his concerts and he already had a number of students, so he was comparatively well-off for a young freelance composer. The catastrophe with his hearing had not yet seriously affected him.

The key of C minor was always special for Beethoven, generating a potent force irrespective of mood. In the opening Allegro the tension is high from the opening bar, with a supple control of rhythms and paragraphs that build into a powerful whole. The sheer sound is astonishingly rich and trenchant and everything is magnificently timed. We get from this music a sense of energy and power rather than the tragedy that convention leads us to expect from Beethoven's C minor.

The Adagio is another powerful movement, contrasting vehemence and calm in the manner we already expect from the astonishingly mature young composer. In the abrupt and wayward Scherzo Beethoven's eccentric sense of humour creeps in, especially in the use of fierce syncopation. Once again we are startled by the weight of sound that Beethoven can get from such a sparse medium. This is partly offset by the grace of the C major Trio. The equally unpredictable Finale is not a rondo but a fully formed sonata design with extraordinary vitality and fantasy. It was movements like this that gave Beethoven's C minor works such a formidable reputation. At the end the major key is established, but pianissimo and tongue-in-cheek.

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String Trio in C minor Op.9/3

Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven (b. 1770 - d. 1827)
Performance date: Sunday 5th July 2009
Venue: Bantry House Library, Bantry, Co. Cork, Ireland,

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Composer Ludwig van Beethoven (b. 1770 - d. 1827)
Work Title String Trio in C minor Op.9/3
Composition Year 1797/8
Work Movements 1. Allegro con spirito
2. Adagio con espressione
3. Scherzo - Allegro molto e vivace
4. Finale - Presto
Artist(s) Siún Milne [violin], Triona Milne [viola], Paul Grennan [cello]
Performance Date Sunday 5th July 2009
Performance Venue Bantry House Library, Bantry, Co. Cork, Ireland,
Event Afternoon Concert
Duration 00:22:41
Recording Engineer Anton Timoney, RTÉ lyric fm
Instrumentation Category Trio
Instrumentation vn, va, vc
Programme Note Writer © Francis Humphrys

The winter of 1797/8 saw Beethoven complete the three Op.9 string trios, the three Op.10 piano sonatas, the Clarinet Sonata Op.11 and the three violin sonatas Op.12. All these works were commissioned, which gives some idea of the demand for his music and his ability to meet that demand. He was already in a position where he could cover his living expenses from his commissions alone. On top of this he would have been paid performance fees for his concerts and he already had a number of students, so he was comparatively well-off for a young freelance composer. The catastrophe with his hearing had not yet seriously affected him.

The key of C minor was always special for Beethoven, generating a potent force irrespective of mood. In the opening Allegro the tension is high from the opening bar, with a supple control of rhythms and paragraphs that build into a powerful whole. The sheer sound is astonishingly rich and trenchant and everything is magnificently timed. We get from this music a sense of energy and power rather than the tragedy that convention leads us to expect from Beethoven's C minor.

The Adagio is another powerful movement, contrasting vehemence and calm in the manner we already expect from the astonishingly mature young composer. In the abrupt and wayward Scherzo Beethoven's eccentric sense of humour creeps in, especially in the use of fierce syncopation. Once again we are startled by the weight of sound that Beethoven can get from such a sparse medium. This is partly offset by the grace of the C major Trio. The equally unpredictable Finale is not a rondo but a fully formed sonata design with extraordinary vitality and fantasy. It was movements like this that gave Beethoven's C minor works such a formidable reputation. At the end the major key is established, but pianissimo and tongue-in-cheek.