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Posted by Martin Walker on February 14, 2014, 10:11 am
I hope it will not be construed as yet another example of my notorious pedantry if I remark that some information about the version of Op.8 played here would be welcome. Ian Lace writes "Brahmsí First Piano Trio is a youthful work." Yes, if the first version is referred to. In the revised version of 1891, which is still commonly played nowadays, much has been excised and/or compressed in a way that changes the character of the work. Thus Jessica Embry in her thesis on the subject (available online) says: "Through the preservation of the initial theme, the first movement of the revised version (1891) maintains the youthful spirit of the original version and at the same time exhibits characteristics of Brahmsís later compositional style." The most notable omission is the fairly protracted treatment in the final movement of a variant of the "Nimm sie hin, denn, diese Lieder" theme quoted previously by Schumann in his Fantasie Op.17 and in the 2nd symphony. This was a possibly too revealing part of his youth Brahms later wished to partially erase by creating a new official version of the work (though not taking steps to destroy the original). In that sense, and because of the noted characteristics of Brahms's later style, the later version cannot seriously be regarded as either Op.8 or dated 1854.
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