REGISTER NOW AND GET
• 5 FREE tracks! • 101 tracks for $9.99
ClassicsOnline Home » BRUCH: 8 Pieces, Op. 83 / INDY: Clarinet Trio, Op. 29
Max Bruch was a child prodigy who grew into a gifted
composer of extraordinary taste and refinement.
Throughout his career he consistently produced works
of professional finish and great beauty. Although today
he is remembered primarily for his concertos,
particularly his Violin Concerto in G minor, he
composed successfully in virtually every medium.
Critical of the innovations brought about by Liszt and
Wagner, Bruch preferred instead the more conservative
styles of Mendelssohn and Schumann. His resistance to
change and a firm belief in traditional forms and
harmonies meant that works written at the end of his life
sound much the same as compositions written sixty
years earlier. Despite his deft skills of orchestration and
an almost unequalled talent for melodic invention, he
was, at his death, an honoured yet lonely and neglected
composer. Many of his compositions remain unjustly
The Eight Pieces, Op. 83, for clarinet, cello (or
viola), and piano, were composed in Berlin in 1910.
Despite being written at a time when many composers
were experimenting with modernism, they are
thoroughly Romantic in style. The instrumentation
allows for the production of a luscious sound, and
Bruch responded with melodies and harmonies that are
correspondingly rich and glowing. Although only
Rumanian Melody and Night Song carry descriptive
titles, all eight are programmatic in the sense of
presenting a characteristic mood or idea. The melodies
are nobly inspired and Bruch’s handling of the
individual instruments is masterful and effective.
Vincent d’Indy came from an aristocratic military
family in the Ardèche region in southern France.
Although he received piano lessons and showed
musical promise as a boy, he remained more interested
in military matters and his hero, Napoleon. Only during
an extended trip to Italy at the age of eighteen did he
become aware of his potential as a composer rather than
an army officer. On the recommendation of his friend
Henri Duparc, d’Indy entered César Franck’s organ and
composition classes at the Paris Conservatoire, devoting
himself thereafter entirely to music. Franck had an
important influence on d’Indy’s musical style, as did
Beethoven and Wagner, but his devout Catholic
upbringing also led to an interest in Gregorian chant
that, coupled with his love of folk-song, can be heard in
many of his compositions.
The Trio in B flat major dates from 1888 and is the
first important work in d’Indy’s mature style. Although
it does not follow a specific model, it owes much to
Franck’s emphasis on structural unity. Several ideas
recur throughout the work, but the first theme in
particular plays an important structural rôle. It is used in
all four movements, appearing as both melody and
accompaniment and in combination with the other
thematic material. As a pianist who occasionally played
both the cello and the clarinet, d’Indy understood and
wrote effectively for all three instruments. It is a highly
polished work that remained one of his particular
favourites; he not only used it as an example in his
composition classes, but also continued to perform it in
public, playing the piano part, throughout his long life.
Last Albums Viewed
BRUCH: 8 Pieces, Op. 83 / INDY: Clarinet Trio, Op....