27 Apr 2021

KORNGOLD: Piano Trio in D Op 1

From Music Alive, 8:04 pm on 27 April 2021

12-year old Erich Korngold wrote a piano trio as if he were 52 years old.

Performed by NZTrio - Amalia Hall (violin), Ashley Brown (cello), Somi Kim (piano) - at their concert 'Constellations'

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Photo: Garth Badger

Like the Beethoven Trio that opened this concert, this was Erich Korngold’s Opus 1. But unlike Beethoven’s work, which he wrote in his early twenties, Korngold wrote his at the age of 12.

It is a remarkably mature work for one so very young – he’s been called the greatest musical prodigy of the 20th century. As Charlotte Wilson writes in her programme notes: “It has an extraordinary boldness and freshness, evoking that lush, slightly decadent sound-world of Vienna before the war. [But] you can hear Korngold’s lyrical gift throughout.”

The work has four movements. Using Wilson's descriptions again: "the first has bursts of energy contrasted with an almost ecstatic stillness; the second is a mischievous Scherzo with a middle section sounding like a sultry cabaret song. The slow third movement in which the two string instruments shine leads to a brilliant finale – part angular and modern, part nostalgic love-duet."

Recorded by RNZ Concert in Auckland Concert Chamber, 11 December 2020
Producer: Tim Dodd; Engineer: Rangi Powick