Program Notes: Thayer Public Library Concert
October 26, 2002

We are continuing our exploration of the Wolfgang A. Mozart piano trios with the Trio in E, K542. Being a consummate composer of opera where each character on stage has a part important in the integrated whole, Mozart does the same for his piano trios. Instead of the trio being a sonata mostly for piano with accompanying instruments as many of the early Classic era trios were, Mozart freed the cello from the supportive basso continuo part to an independent voice and wrote the violin/flute as a separate treble part to the right hand of the piano - not merely doubling it. The Trio in E was written in the same period as his last three symphonies. It is characterized by a flowing melody in the first movement, a stately dotted rhythm in the second and sparkling virtuosic passages in the third.

It is believed that Franz Schubert’s Shepherd on the Rock, D965 (Der Hirt auf dem Felsen) was the last song he composed. Ralf Wehner writes, “that for all his mastery of the lied, Schubert had great difficulty finding public recognition in his lifetime. Among the few highlights of his career was a concert at the Vienna Musikverein in March 1828. Several Lieder and chamber works were performed which were all received with tumultuous applause. Seeing this as a favorable sign, Schubert threw himself into his work once again, writing keyboard sonatas, a string quartet and the E-flat major Mass. He wrote several lieder including the Shepherd on the Rock. This song stands apart from most of Schubert’s other lieder for solo voice not only because it is scored for a second instrument but also because of its multi-sectional, cantata-like character. Originally scored for clarinet, piano and solo voice, Shepherd on the Rock, is believed to have been written for the operatic soprano Anna Milder-Hauptmann, who had asked Schubert to compose a brilliant concert aria for her, specifying a piece which would allow her to express a wide range of feelings and would be suitable for a ‘large audience.’ As a result, the work is more like an operatic aria than Schubert’s other lieder. The vocal line, solo instrument and piano are closely interwoven, thus creating an organic texture which does equal justice to the piece’s claims to be treated both as a chamber work and as a concertante aria.”

Peter Schickele writes of his Summer Trio for flute, cello and piano:
“In the summer of 1965 my wife and I happened to drive through Jerome, AZ, which was on its way to becoming a ghost town (mining had ceased only fifteen years earlier). It sits halfway up a mountain, looking out over a spectacular valley, and although some of its houses had already begun to slide down, there were many interesting buildings and people still standing. We couldn’t stay then, but we knew we would have to return some day. The following summer we drove into Jerome once again, and by the end of the day we had rented an apartment for a month, the second floor of a rickety yellow house that clung to the side of a ridge.

Some friends in New York had formed a flute, cello and piano trio the previous season and had suggested that I write something for them, and the Summer Trio was writen in Jerome between fascinating but arduous walks around town (nothing is level in Jerome), long quiet drives into the mountains and deserts and canyons, and boisterous evenings in the bar with the pressed tin ceiling.

The terms “lines” and “choruses” in the title of the second movement are used in the sense that jazz musicians use them: line meaning melody and chorus meaning one time through, whether it be on the composed tune or the improvised variations. In this case, there is no improvisation, but each instrument has a solo chorus over (or incorporating) the original bass line.”

Sir Eugene Goosens III (1893-1962) was born into an English musical family of Belgian descent. Both his father and grandfather were conductors and one of his brothers was a world renowned oboist. As a composer, Goosens was considered, at one time, to be on par with Sir William Walton but he was much better known as a conductor. He conducted for the British National Opera Company and the Ballets Russe before holding symphony posts at Rochester, Cincinnati and Sydney.

Goosens studied in Bruges, Belgium during the time of French Impressionism which heavily influenced his own style of composition. This is evidenced in Five Impressions of a Holiday, op 7 which was composed in 1914 - early in his career. Goosens effectively uses each instrument’s unique timbre, tonal color and technique to create his impressions. The five movements are each a short character piece providing a differnt musical perspective of a holiday (vacation). Although the titles of each movement imply programmatic music, they are instead just suggestions of a particular mood. The one exception is The Village Church, in which he uses the piano to evoke church bells and has the cello and flute chant the melody in octaves.

Der Hirt auf dem Felsen, D 965
(text after Wilhelm Müller’s poem
“The mountain shepherd”)

The Shepherd on the Rock, D 965
(Translation: Lionel Salter)

Wenn auf dem höchsten Fels ich steh,
ins tiefe Thal herneider seh,
und singe, und singe,
fern aus dem tiefen, dunkeln Thal
schwingt sich empor der Wiederhall,
der Wiederhall der Klüfte.

Je weiter meine Stimme dringt,
Je heller sie mir wiederklingt,
von unten, von unten.
Mein Liebchen wohnt so weit von mir,
drum sehn ich mich so heiß nach ihr
hinüber, hinüber.

When on the highest cliff I stand,
gaze down into the deep valley
and sing,
the echo from the ravines
floats upwards from the dark valley
far away.

The further my voice travels,
the clearer it returns to me
from below.
So far from me does my love dwell
that I yearn for her more ardently
over there.


In tiefem Gram verzehr’ ich mich,
mir ist die Freude hin,
auf Erden mir die Hoffnung wich,
ich hier so einsam bin,
ich hier so einsam bin.

So sehnend klang im Wald das Lied,
so sehnend klang es durch die Nacht,
die Herzen es zum Himmel zieht
mit wunderbarer Macht.


With deep grief I am consumed,
my joy is at an end;
all hope on earth has left me;
I am so lonely here,
I am so lonely here.

So longingly sounded the song in the wood,
so longingly it sounded through the night,
drawing hearts heavenwards
with wondrous power.


Der Frühling will kommen,
der Frühling meine Freud,
nun mach ich mich fertig zum Wandern bereit.


Spring is coming,
Spring, my joy;
now I will make ready to go journeying.


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