Rachmaninoff: Trio élégiaque for piano, violin and cello no.2 in d minor op.9

Duration : 51 minutes

In celebration of the 4th Evgeny Svetlanov International Conducting Competition, Dmitri Makhtin, Alexandre Kniazev and Andrei Korobeinikov perform the Trio élégiaque n°2 in d minor op.9 by Rachmaninoff. Live concert at the Radio France Auditorium, recorded on 6 September 2018.

After a first short Trio élégiaque composed in January 1892, Rachmaninoff began working on his Trio élégiaque no.2 on 25 October 1893, the same day as the death of Tchaikovsky. He completed the work in five weeks ("All my thoughts , all my strength, is dedicated to the work"), and premiered the work himself in front of two of his friends, on 31 January of the following year.

However, it would seem that the work was composed somewhat in a hurry,  emotions, since Rachmaninoff made numerous changes between 1907 and 1917. Surprisingly, he removed in 1907 a part for harmonium initially added to the second movement! 

The initial Moderato opens with an obstinato piano motif, a sinister lamento followed by a profoundly sad melody played by the cello. The violin joins the melody until, at the end of a poignant crescendo, an Allegro moderato suddenly arrives, closing after many adventures with an enigmatic conclusion, both painful and resigned.

The vast second movement is made up of an Andante theme, initially exposed by the piano, followed by eight variations. The theme, explains Pierre-Emile Barbier, "is borrowed from the Fantasy for orchestra op.7 "The Rock", a work composed by Rachmaninoff in the beginning of 1893 and one that Tchaikovsky hoped to conduct in Moscow". The variations do not grow progressively in size or speed, but rather on the contrary vary textures, moods, and speeds, from the Allegro for the three instruments to the final Moderato, passing by a Lento for piano solo, a whirlwind Allegro scherzando, an incredibly bare Moderato followed by an Istesso tempo, placing the cello in the limelight before finally returning to the piano with the Allegro vivace and the Andante.

The brief Finale concludes rapidly by returning to the melodic material of the first movement, ultimately dyingaway sorrily. 

Written by Christian Wasselin

Medtner, Rachaminov, Svetlanov, Tchaïkovski... Tribute concert for Evgeny Svetlanov
Full concert
Medtner, Rachaminov, Svetlanov, Tchaïkovski... Tribute concert for Evgeny Svetlanov
Auditorium de Radio France
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Sergei Rachmaninoff