Trio in F major for piano, violin and cello (s.a.) (score and parts)
Gohr, Peter Emil
Peter Emil Gohr
(Cologne, 25 January 1842 – Antwerpen, 11 January 1928)
Trio in F major for piano, violin and cello (s.a.)
Peter Emil Gohr began his career as a teacher at Ernst Koch’s Gesang-Institut in Cologne, where he taught ‘allgemeine Musik- und Harmonielehre, Treffübungen, Clavier’ (according to an 1866 advertisement). In 1869, he moved to Antwerp, and two years later he married Maria Theresia Hubertina Rochels. She would give birth to thirteen children, of whom only a small number would reach adulthood. In Antwerp, Gohr worked as a pianist, composer and music teacher. Peter Benoit was a friend of his. During the war, Gohr gave free music lessons to German soldiers and organised concerts in the ‘Soldatenheim’. Because of their German sympathies, the couple was repeatedly expelled (in 1914, 1918, and 1919). However, the appeal of Antwerp proved so great that they returned each time – in 1921 definitively. Gohr’s wife died in 1923; he passed away in 1928, a few days before his 86th birthday.
Peter Emil Gohr’s oeuvre mainly consists of songs (often based on German poetry), folksong arrangements for various instruments and instrument combinations, (dance) music for piano solo, piano four hands and two pianos, in addition to some ensemble music. In 1885, he wrote a paraphrase on an old German Christmas carol, for violin, cello and piano. The trio in F major for the same instrumentation is not dated, which makes it hard to situate it within the rest of the oeuvre. It is a relatively “serious” and abstract composition among lighter and often programmatic works. It is fairly classical, and has an uncomplicated harmonic and melodic idiom. The trio was privately printed by the composer in Antwerp and ‘most friendly dedicated’ to his friend Jules Roelants, cellist.
The work follows the standard format of a classical sonata, except for the third movement, which is an intermezzo in waltz form where a scherzo and trio would be expected. The four movements are provided with programmatic captions. The initial Allegro suggests the awakening of spring (‘Wieder Erwachen des Frühlings’), while the second movement, Andante molto cantabile, represents a love scene (‘Liebesscene’). The Intermezzo, Tempo di Valse (Moderato), evokes a dance of the grandparents (‘Tanz der Groβeltern’), and the final movement, Finale, Allegro apassionato is entitled ‘Aufschwung und Triumph’: upswing and victory.
The first movement is a sonata form. The first subject sets off gently but energetically with syncopations and accents, pizzicatos and staccatos, and merges into a lyrical dialogical melody which is repeated in an increasingly powerful manner. The second subject has a simple melodic and harmonic structure with pedal notes and repeated chord notes. The development section starts pianissimo but quickly turns into a turbulent forte passage reiterating the opening theme’s syncopations. A sweet, melodic variant surfaces for a moment, immediately followed by a dizzying downward movement over more than two octaves. The recapitulation gives way to renewed joyfulness. The coda establishes a change to 2/4, involving a diminution of the opening theme followed by an elaborate cadenza.
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