Classical Music | Music for Trio

Arthur Foote

Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 65  Play

Neave Trio Trio

Recorded on 02/15/2017, uploaded on 10/07/2017

Musician's or Publisher's Notes

I.     Allegro giocoso
II.    Tranquillo
III.   Allegro molto

This work was published 1909, the first performance having taken place at Boston’s Fenway Court on 8 December 1908, on which occasion Foote took the piano part himself, alongside two members of the Kneisel Quartet. The work is typical of the unwavering adherence by its composer to the solid structural principles of German romantic music: the principal influences on his style were Beethoven, Schumann, Mendelssohn, and Brahms, and as a result his own composing combined formal clarity with infectious melodic appeal – two qualities which made his music popular with audiences at the time.

The triple-time opening movement, in a clearly articulated sonata form, is propelled along by a strong rhythmic drive, dashes of augmented-triad harmony along the way suggesting that Foote was also an admirer of the music of Fauré and César Franck. The stately slow movement is typical of the German romantics in being set in a key (D major) which is a third away from the work’s home tonality, and is characterized by wide-ranging melodies and rhapsodically roving harmonies; in a slower passage, Foote introduces an unusual texture in which the piano doubles the violin’s rich G-string melody two octaves higher. The finale’s sonata form is, unlike that of the first movement, rather cunningly disguised by ongoing textural and tonal variety; and, in a nod towards the cyclic form so popular in late-romantic instrumental music, the first movement’s principal theme is reintroduced by way of an exuberant coda.                    Notes by Mervyn Cooke