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8.555870 - TURINA: Piano Trios (Complete)
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Joaquín Turina (1882-1949)

Complete Music for Piano Trio

Piano Trio No.1 in D major, Op.35

[1] Prélude et Fugue: Lento – Andante

[2] Thème et Variations: Andante

[3] Sonate: Allegro

Piano Trio No.2 in B minor, Op.76

[4] Lento – Allegro molto moderato

[5] Molto vivace

[6] Lento – Andante mosso – Allegro vivo

Círculo . . . , Op.91

[7] Amanecer (Dawn)

[8] Mediodía (Noon)

[9] Crepúsculo (Twilight)

Piano Trio in F major

[10] Lento – Allegro

[11] Andante

[12] Allegro alla danza

[13] Andante grandioso

Joaquín Turina (1882-1949)

Complete Music for Piano Trio

Joaquín Turina was born in Seville in 1882, the son of a painter of more distant Italian origin. The Seville of his childhood and adolescence remained an important element in his life and work. As a boy Turina showed, as one might expect, an early interest in music. His schooling was at the Colegio de San Ramón and the Colegio del Santo Angel and he had his first piano lessons with Enrique Rodriguez and studied counterpoint and composition with the director of music at the cathedral, Evaristo García Torres. His father, while aware of his son’s musical abilities, had intended a career for him in medicine, but was willing to allow to follow his bent and develop his musical gifts.

Turina made his first public appearance as a pianist in Seville in 1897, when he played Thalberg’s very demanding Moses Fantasy. Meanwhile he had started to write music, including a setting of verses by Rodriguez Marín, Las coplas de la Pasión. In 1902 he moved to Madrid to study the piano with José Trago, taking with him a newly composed biblical opera, La sulamita. He made his first appearance as a pianist in Madrid in 1903, and the following year his zarzuela, Fea y con gracia was performed with success. The death of his parents now persuaded him to follow the example of other musicians of his generation and travel to Paris, where he studied with Moritz Moszkowski before entering the Schola Cantorum, on the recommendation of Isaac Albéniz, who was of material assistance to both Turina and Manuel de Falla. Turina studied at the Schola with Vincent d’Indy, following the prescribed course assiduously until 1913. Paris brought him contact with leading French and Spanish composers and performers, including Debussy, whose influence on his music was perceptible. It was Albéniz who was able to make the publication of Turina’s Piano Quintet, Opus 1, possible, and the work was first performed in Paris by the composer with the Parent Quartet.

It was on the advice of Albéniz that Turina’s serious attention was drawn to Spanish folk material and particularly the music of Andalusia.

The years in Paris allowed frequent journeys back to Spain. Turina’s orchestral La procesión del Rocío was successfully given in Madrid in 1913 under the direction of Enrique Arbós and won similar acclaim in Paris. The following year he returned to Spain, settling in Madrid and pursuing a career as a pianist, conductor and composer. In 1930 he was appointed to the chair of composition at the Royal Conservatory and five years later became an academician of the Academy of Fine Arts, his inaugural lecture postponed until after the Civil War, during which Turina wrote nothing. In the last ten years of his life he wrote relatively little, composing a small number of chamber works and a larger number of piano pieces. He died in Madrid in 1949.

Turina’s Piano Trio No.1 in D major was written in 1926, triumphing in that year in the Spanish National Competition. The work was published with a dedication to the Infanta Isabel de Borbón. The first movement opens with a slow introduction in which the violin and cello present first a melancholy descending passage, followed by the dotted rhythm of the piano. The Prélude ends with violin and cello once more, before the brighter mood of the Fugue, its contrapuntal texture largely concealed in the more elaborate piano writing. The theme of the second movement is entrusted first to the cello, joined by the violin, with a chordal accompaniment from the piano. The Spanish character of the material is apparent in the first variation, marked Allegro moderato, a dance that starts a series of further variations based on Spanish dance rhythms. The second version of the theme is a whimsical Andantino mosso. The third variation, in irregular 5/8 metre and marked Moderato, is given to the piano, after which a fourth variation brings the plucked notes of the cello and the muted sounds of the lower register of the violin, with interpolations from the piano. The Andantino fifth variation is a further Spanish dance, leading to the return of the original theme. The last movement, Sonate, offers a variety of thematic material, at first seeming to promise a moto perpetuo soon forgotten in a first theme of national outline, leading to a contrasting second theme. The first lilting theme provides a framework for other material, including reminiscences of the fugal theme of the first movement and a final return to the opening of the first movement.

The Piano Trio No.2 in B minor, Opus 76, was completed in 1933, originally conceived, it seems, as a set of three Nocturnes. It was dedicated to Jacques Lerolle, the nephew of Chausson, director of the French publisher Rouart-Lerolle, later absorbed by Editions Salabert. The first movement is introduced by three bars marked Lento, before what promises to be a full-textured Allegro molto moderato is launched. A gentler secondary theme appears, marked Allegretto, interrupted by a passage marked Lento, with a melancholy cello theme, extended by the violin, before the tranquillity is replaced by the return of the modified Allegro molto moderato and the secondary theme. The following movement, in a very Spanish 5/8 metre, has the two string instruments offering a rapid accompaniment to the emphatic chords of the piano. This is interrupted by a passage of greater serenity, before the onward momentum is resumed. The cello, joined by the violin, makes a strong opening statement in the last movement, before ominous piano chords, the theme taken up by the violin. The mood changes and changes again, as the movement continues in the manner of a Spanish Fauré, Turina’s French training and Spanish rhythmic and melodic inspiration never far away.

Círculo, Opus 91, described as a Fantastic Trio, is an evocative set of three pieces, published in 1942. The dark stillness of the first piece, Amanecer (Dawn), at first makes use of the sombre lower register of the cello, before the world begins to waken, as the music gently grows in volume and day breaks. The second piece, Mediodía (Noon), more overtly Spanish in theme and rhythm, suggests aspects of the time of day, including unusual activity. The cycle ends with Crepúsculo (Twilight), as tranquillity gradually returns.

Turina’s Piano Trio in F has suffered nearly a century of neglect. It was written in 1904 and is, therefore, more or less from the same period as the Piano Quintet in G minor, Opus 1. Dated Seville, 1904, the Trio was first performed there in that year at the Sala Piazza by the violinist Fernando Palatin, the cellist Antonio Ochoa and the composer. In four movements the work shows the influence of the school of César Franck, Vincent d’Indy’s teacher, an influence that Turina was able at least to modify, after the advice of Albéniz to turn, as he himself had done, to national sources of inspiration. The cyclical principle of structure used by Franck is heard in Turina’s work, with references in the last movement to what has passed in those that precede it. The relatively dark-hued opening of the minor-key first movement leads on to brighter material, not without a touch of the Parisian salons of the period. The slow movement is solemnly introduced by the two string instruments, the music gently unwinding in alternation at first with the piano, before all three join together. The lively scherzo is in asymmetrical 5/4 metre, a movement that lightly breaks the mood of the preceding movement, with its hushed conclusion, now suggesting, at least, the spirit of Spain. The final movement, with its references to what has passed, opens in grandiose style and provides an emphatic conclusion to the whole work.

Based on material supplied by José Luis Turina de Santos


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