Schubert - Trio op. 100 - Andante con moto
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Schubert, Trio op. 100 - Andante con moto
Par le Trio Wanderer (Voyage d'hiver 2007 - Carte Blanche au Trio Wanderer,
Piano Trio in E minor opus 100, D. 929
While the autograph score of the B flat major Trio has long since been lost, in the case of its companion in E flat, D. 929, we have not only Schubert's final manuscript, but also a working draft of the first three movements. The latter is a fascinating document, and it reveals how radically he altered some of the music's details as he worked. This is particularly true of the slow movement, whose entire shape was changed between the draft and the final version. In the opening movement, Schubert's most far-reaching modification was to alter the key in which the pianissimo second theme appears, from F sharp minor to B minor. The repeated-note rhythm of this theme casts its shadow over the entire work; and it is in the key of B minor that Schubert is later to introduce one of his most profound surprises, the re-appearance of the slow movement's theme during the course of the finale.
The recapitulation, which is approached with a forceful variant of the quiet bars that had concluded the exposition. The dramatic re-appearance of these bars, with their harmonic shape retained intact, will, later in the movement, generate the expectation of a further return of the main theme in the home key. Schubert, however, thwart such an expectation with a side-stepping modulation, and effectively begins his recapitulation in the "foreign" key of G flat major, only returning to B flat for the main theme's delicate counter statement The yearningly expressive slow movement provides a wonderful example of Schubert's ability to create seemingly endless melodies within a structure that evolves continuously. Behind the music's form lies the notion of a ternary design, with the contrasting middle section unfolding in a gently agitated C minor.
Following the Scherzo, with its touchingly simple trio in waltz style, Schubert rounds the work off with a finale of considerable complexity. His own heading for the piece is 'Rondo', though the failure of the opening theme to return before the central section lends it the appearance of a highly individual sonata form.
The final is an Allegro moderato, with the piano as the leading instrument. This movement has some glorious tunes, some with an eastern touch, others vaguely folk-tune-like. They all lead to a spirited and convincing conclusion. The start of the development coincides with a change in time-signature and an elaboration of the main theme's characteristic dactylic rhythm, now transformed into a kind of sublimated ecossaise.
The B flat Trio's opening movement was described as 'graceful and original' by Schumann in his review in the Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik. Given the forceful march-like nature of the Trio's main theme, however, this seems a little surprising. No doubt, though, Schumann was thinking either of the counter statement, where the melody is given out in octaves by the piano, while the violin adds an accompaniment in gentle repeated quavers, and the cello interjects the march rhythm in a subdued pizzicato; or of the second subject, played initially by the cello over a flowing piano accompaniment.