Трио для 2 гобоев и английского рожка C-dur, Opus 87

Время создания: 1795 г.

I. Allegro
II. Adagio
III. Menuetto. Allegro molto. Scherzo – Trio
IV. Finale. Presto

Ricercar Academy (avec instruments originaux)

This work carries a higher opus number than others from the time of its composition because it was not published until 1806. Beethoven had begun experiencing some financial difficulties in the years after 1800 and thus began to reach into his deep fund of unpublished early works. He typically revised these compositions when needed, however, and continued to withhold from publication some that did not meet his high standards.

The Trio for Two Oboes and English Horn was composed at a time when Beethoven's music still divulged the influence of Mozart and Haydn. Still, there is no mistaking the style of the music in the Trio. For one thing, much of the music displays that hurried and muscular character so typical of the composer. It is also nothing that while Beethoven was only 25 when he wrote the Trio, the music's demeanor is quite serious, almost sounding like the work of mature composer.

The first movement, marked Allegro, has a comparatively nonchalant character, and sounds the most conventional of the four movements. Mozart comes to mind here in particular, but mainly in spirit and formal design. One clearly recognizes that Beethovenian busyness in the music, even despite the slightly less serious mood. The main theme, with its repeated note near the beginning, sounds a little stiff, but the movement as a whole has a fair amount of charm. The second-movement (Adagio cantabile), offers a lovely main theme, and the whole of the movement is pure Beethoven, its brilliant scoring and slow tempo being rather unusual for this kind of music at this time. The third movement carries the markings Menuetto, Allegro molto, Scherzo, but is almost a genuine Scherzo. Its fast music and muscular style give it that Beethovenian stamp, and make a fine contrast to the preceding Adagio. The finale, marked Presto, is another brilliant movement, though here Haydn steps forth, both thematically and formally. Again, however, Beethoven never becomes imitative in any passage. The music is full of humor and deft touches, and this movement, a Rondo, ends with a brilliant coda.

All in all, this is a fine work, though not of major consequence in the composer's output. A typical performance of this piece lasts from 23 to 26 minutes.

(All Music Guide)

Beethoven wrote a great deal of music for various combinations of wind instruments during his teens and 20s. Some of this was intended for the Bonn court of the Elector Maximilian Franz, who maintained an ensemble of wind players, and some represented Beethoven's attempt in Vienna to teach himself to write idiomatically for winds as he prepared to compose a symphony. But his Trio, Op. 87 comes from a different genre altogether: it was intended for the growing number of amateur performers in Vienna. Beethoven composed the Trio for the unlikely combination of two oboes and English horn in 1794, shortly after his arrival in that city (and he actually wrote another work for this particular combination of players, a set of variations on "Là ci darem la mano" from Don Giovanni).

Because amateur performers would gather in unusual permutations of players, this Trio was quickly arranged for many other combinations of instruments: versions exist for two violins and bass line, two flutes and viola, two clarinets and bassoon, as a sonata for violin and piano, and in various piano settings. In 1806, Beethoven approved an arrangement (not by him) for two violins and viola, which was published that year. It was assigned the misleadingly-high opus number of 87, which would seem to place it near the Seventh Symphony; in fact, this music was written before Beethoven had published his Opus 1.

The Trio is ideally suited to skilled non-professional performers: while not particularly difficult, it is melodic and agreeable and demands idiomatic playing and a good sense of ensemble from all three players. It is in the four-movement classical form that Beethoven was attempting to master in his early years in Vienna, yet it preserves the pleasing character of the serenade music Mozart and others wrote for lighter occasions over the final decades of the 18th century. Music this friendly and engaging needs little comment or introduction. It has a sonata-form first movement complete with exposition repeat, a lyrical Adagio, and a spirited Menuetto (really a scherzo) that skips along its 3/4 meter - Beethoven appends a brief coda. The finale is full of energy: its main theme appears quietly at first, then grows more animated, and soon the music is flying along on triplet runs that help rush the Trio to its firm close.