The drama of an almost operatic nature frames this programme. Glinka, primarily known for being the ‘Father of Russian Music’, was greatly influenced by his love of the Italian operas of Rossini and Bellini. He composed his Trio Pathétique in 1832 following a failed love affair, and pours the melodrama of his predicament into the music noting in the score “The only way I know love is by the pain it causes”.
One of the ‘Russian Five’ who followed Glinka’s nationalistic path, Rimsky-Korsakov wrote his epic symphonic poem Scheherazade in 1888. Based on the tale of One Thousand and One Nights, it is made famous by its dramatic story telling, for its eastern leanings and tremendous orchestral colour. In this chamber version for piano trio and clarinet, the intimacy of the story is brought to the fore.
If Glinka and Rimsky-Korsakov followed the more nationalistic path, filling their music with Russian village songs, Arensky was inspired by the heritage of Tchaikovsky. Indeed it was Tchaikovsky’s great elegiac trio of 1882 that motivated Arensky to write his first trio, dedicated to the memory of his friend, the cellist Carl Davidoff. Filled with the best of melodies, an impish scherzo, it is in the third movement, Elegia that we find the full pathos of this heartfelt work.