Franz Schubert

Piano Trio No. 2 in E flat major, D. 929 (Op. 100)

    Description by Blair Johnston

    The second of Franz Schubert's two full-length piano trios was begun during November 1827 and finished probably within the next few weeks. It was certainly completed by January of the following year, when Schubert held a private performance of the piece in celebration of the forthcoming marriage of his longtime friend Josef von Spaun; Spaun had encouraged the young composer at his fledgling compositional efforts while Schubert was still a preteen. The Piano Trio No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 100, was written almost immediately after the Piano Trio in B flat, Op. 99; Schubert himself felt the E flat work to be the better of the two -- not at all surprising, since he had "warmed up" on the other work before writing it.

    The Trio is a very different work than its B flat major sister-piece. Opus 99 is an apparently carefree work whose soaring melodies have little if any of the firmness and grit that fill the E flat Piano Trio; indeed, the dramatic musical battle lines of the E flat major Trio, the frequent wholesale and sometimes very sudden abandonment of one mood for an absolutely contrasting one -- the great swells and then deflations of confidence -- would be utterly out of place in the emotionally stable Op. 99.

    The diversity and placement of material throughout the opening Allegro might have baffled an eighteenth century composer. After an initial, very traditional idea, Schubert moves to the extremely distant key of B minor(!!) for an impish second subject, defined by an incessant ostinato rhythm. A third melody seems to appear in the key of the dominant B flat, but it is in fact an extension of a little pendant to the first theme. Still, it is this "third" subject that rounds off the exposition and occupies the players throughout the entire development. The Andante con moto owes its songful melody to Schubert's encounter with a Swedish folk singer shortly before, or into, the composition of the trio. There is raw passion in the movement's climax, a passion that seems unsure whether its final destination is transcendentalism or tragedy.

    The Allegro moderato (Scherzo) unfolds canonically; even when the exact imitation evaporates, the spirit of friendly emulation remains intact. The trio section is physical and robust. The finale is expansive and complex; the move from the bright opening theme to the more dark-spirited second subject is made with so little transition that at first one might imagine the movement to be a rondo. After this second subject runs its course, however, we get no reprise of the opening music but rather something absolutely astonishing: a reprise of the melody from the second movement, doctored to suit the new tempo and context, that acts as an usher to the arriving development section.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Allegro
    2. Andante con moto
    3. Scherzo. Allegro moderato - Trio
    4. Allegro moderato

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Harmonia Mundi HMC 90223334
    2016 Gramola GRAM 99086
    2016 RCA Red Seal 88843095342
    2016 Decca / Philips 4788977
    2016 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4795983
    2016 Paladino Music PMR 0047
    2016 Tudor Records TUD 7601
    2016 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4795545
    2016 Alpha ALPHA 216
    2016 EuroArts / Warner Classics 555050
    2016 Warner Classics 0825646777068
    2015 Warner Classics 0825646019311
    2015 Praga / Praga Digitals PRD 250310
    2015 Sony Classical 88875051562
    2014 Wigmore Hall Live WHLCD 0070
    2014 Centaur Records CRC 33503351
    2014 IDIS IDIS 6685
    2013 EtCetera Records KTC 1495
    2012 The Entertainment Group 1139
    2012 Musicaphon 56934
    2012 Sony Classical 88725463952
    2012 Entertainment Group 12903
    2012 CAvi-music AVI 8553236
    2012 Brilliant Classics 94424
    2012 RCA Red Seal 88725451452
    2011 RCA Red Seal 886919369120
    2011 Warner Classics
    2011 Genuin GEN 11200
    2011 Preiser Records PR 90793
    2011 Analekta AN 295108
    2011 Gramola 98812
    2011 Phaedra 292022
    2011 Eloquentia EL 1129
    2011 Red Bus Classical RCLAS 044
    2011 Bridge 9376AB
    2011 Nimbus NI6137
    2011 Fuga Libera FUG584
    2010 Musica Omnia 0310
    2010 Supraphon 40082
    2010 Solo Musica 145
    2010 Pavane 7530
    2010 Brilliant Classics 93798
    2010 Apex
    2009 Wigmore Hall Live 26
    2009 Con Brio 28453
    2009 CRD Records CRD 2411
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099926413
    2008 Avi 8553044
    2008 Brilliant 93673
    2008 Mirare 052
    2008 Urania 350
    2008 Harmonia Mundi 902002/03
    2007 Warner Classics 4699675
    2007 Vista Vera 97016
    2007 Sony Classical Essential Classics 709944
    2007 Analekta AN29855/6
    2007 PentaTone Classics 5186050
    2007 Virgin Classics 0946365476
    2007 EMI Music Distribution 385853
    2007 Intim Musik 108
    2007 Berlin Classics 0149222
    2006 Naxos 8555700
    2006 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 0946365295
    2006 EMI Classics
    2006 Philips 4757571
    2006 Capriccio Records 71102-3
    2005 Brilliant 99599
    2004 Praga 250201
    2004 Praga PRDDSD250201
    2004 Novalis Classics 150724
    2004 Camerata Records 20014/15
    2004 Brilliant 92394
    2004 Preiser Records 90597
    2003 Epsa Music 0341
    2003 Andante 1990
    2003 Andante 1010
    2003 EMI Classics
    2003 Harmonia Mundi 1951047
    2002 Hyperion CDA67347
    2002 Chandos 10033
    2001 Winter & Winter 6
    2001 Rca Red Seal 63073
    2001 Nuova Era 7339
    2001 Classical Express 3957095
    2001 Le Chant du Monde LDC2781132/3
    2000 Arts Music 47554
    2000 Arts Music 47554
    2000 EMI Music Distribution 574197-2
    2000 Symphonia 99172
    1999 Chandos 9414
    1999 Tacet 066
    1999 ASV/Living Era 6232
    1999 Winter & Winter 9100182
    1999 RCA Red Seal 63000
    1998 ECM 453 300-2
    1998 Wildboar 9704
    1997 DHR 7710
    1997 Capriccio Records 490715
    1997 Camerata Records 30CM457
    1997 Teldec 13151
    1997 London 455685
    1997 Berlin Classics 0092952
    1997 BMG 61769
    1996 Sony Music Distribution 62695
    1996 Capriccio Records 10387
    1996 Camerata Records 401
    1996 Teldec 94558
    1996 Harmonia Mundi 290847
    1995 Sony Classical 67195
    1995 Pearl 9141
    1995 Arion 64124
    1995 Sony Classical 64516
    1995 Clarity Recordings 1007
    1995 Harmonia Mundi 907095
    1995 Novalis 150003
    1994 Sony Music Distribution 58988
    1994 Naxos 505021
    1994 Philips
    1994 Philips 438 700-2PM2
    1993 Virgin 59303
    1993 Naxos 550132
    1993 Arabesque 6580
    1992 BIS 521/24
    1992 Vox Box 5033
    1992 Harmonia Mundi 901047
    1990 CBS Records / Sony Classical 46425
    1988 EMI Music Distribution 61014
    1986 Philips 412620
    1984 Chandos CHAN8324
    Sony Music Distribution 48088
    Virgin 562007
    Brilliant 92394/15
    Brilliant 93673/15
    Brilliant 99599/6
    Selene 970131
    Calig 50931
    Arkadia 598
    Fidelio 9216
    Carlton 6700132
    Lyrinx 132
    Challenge Classics 72037
    Challenge Classics 72101
    Arte Nova 37859
    Capriccio Records 49073
    BIS 521
    Koch Discover International 920488
    DG Deutsche Grammophon 000303302
    Lys 371