The 1944 Trio by Jacques Ibert (1890-1962) was composed for his daughter, a talented harp virtuoso. The 1st mvmt has a lively and ethereal texture, with the cello’s often soaring into high register. The 2nd mvmt violin and cello dialogue flows over an ostinato harp pattern. The last mvmt provides unbroken energy, a perpetual motion Scherzando con moto. Henrietta Renie (1875-1956) became a virtuoso harpist by age 11. Her Trio (1901) is dedicated to her teacher, Charles Lenepveu, who taught at the Paris Conservatory. Renie’s musical style combines French, cyclical elements with a German sense of classical form. The expansive 1st mvmt opens Allegro risoluto in dark tones reminiscent of Franck. A rustic simplicity marks the Scherzo movement, which has a Mendelssohnian, martial elusiveness about its exterior sections. The Andante mvmt offers a poignant cello tune whose harmonies fill out into song that has a Wales or Scotland air about it, given the composer’s fondness for Sir Walter Scott. The Finale: Allegro recounts prior melodies before assuming its own folk style dance. The violin enjoys a strong solo, concertante part. Renie composed the solo harp piece Danse des Lutins (Dance of the Goblins) as a delicate counterpart to Bazzini’s La Ronde des Lutins for violin and piano. The piece comes from lines in Walter Scott’s “The Lay of the Last Minstrel.”
Norwegian Johan Halvorsen (1864-1935) recast the from Handel’s Harpsichord Suite No. 7 in G Minor a Passacaglia for violin and cello (1894). Whereas Handel presents a ground theme and 15 variations, Halvorsen gives us 12. The piece exploits the full arsenal of both instruments, including double stops, pizzicato, ponticello, spiccato, and legato attacks. At the finale, a frenzied variant based on a third takes us into luminous G Major.
The disc ends with a transcription of Schubert’s song Lob der Traenen, “In Praise of Tears.” The 1819 song, based on Schliegel’s text, laments the ethereal quality of life in bitter-sweet meditation.