Henri GAGNEBIN : Trio in D Major, Op. 46 – Joseph LAUBER : Violin Sonata in D Minor, Op. 4, No. 1 – Three Humoresques for Flute Solo, Op. 52 – Trio for Flute, Violin & Piano.

 

Peter-Lukas Graf, Flute – Thomas Wicky, Violin – Carlos Gil-Gonzalo, Piano.

 

Henri Gagnebin: Trio in D major for flute, violin and piano, Op. 46 (1941)

 

Composed in 1941, the trio in D major for flute, violin and piano, is one of Gagnebin’s most popular chamber music compositions. It enthrals the listener from its first movement with its fresh, entertaining character. Stylistically, the composition wavers between French Neoclassical and Impressionist elements. The harmony is relatively traditional, yet, it has a unique character that gives rise to new tonal relationships and timbres. Gagnebin’s adherence to an extended tonality, however, does not completely exclude instances of austere dissonances. The foundations of this music are not so much themes as much as motives that have been subjected to a complex transformation: Henri Gagnebin examined the evolution of contemporary music attentively, expanding his style and composing techniques. Later on, with great personal freedom, he pursued a path that was strictly his own, rejecting a dependence on the dictates of trends and ideologies. According to his own statements, he wanted his music to express all of life’s splendour.

Joseph Lauber: Violin Sonata Op. 4 No 1 (1899)

The first violin sonata Op. 4, from 1899, remains situated in the tradition of the German Romantics through its four-movement presentation; however, the harmony and the unusual intensity of the piano movement recalls the violin sonata composed 12 years prior by Richard Strauss, Op. 16. The work is characterised by excited fantasies of sound and a dramatic undertone, which are particularly striking in the first movement, aided by polyrhythmic structures in the piano and violin parts, leaving an auditory feeling of floating between rhythmical limits and emphasis.

 

Joseph Lauber: 3 Humoresques for flute, Op. 52

 

Lauber’s flute compositions resulted from the suggestion of the Danish financier and amateur flautist, Paul Hagemann (1882-1967) for whom also Paul Hindemith wrote his «Eight Pieces for Solo Flute» at the same time. Opuses 47-53 contain compositions for solo flute, flute and harp, flute and piano, and for flute quartet. The Danses Médiévales for flute and harp are part of the most popular concert repertoire. Trois Humoresques, Op. 52 distinguishes itself from the solo pieces due to its particularly concise musical form and characteristics.

 

Joseph Lauber: Trio for flute, violin and piano (1936)

 

The trio for flute, violin and piano, composed some 38 years later, shows Lauber’s considerable evolution as a composer. Here, he definitively parts from the influence and archetype of the German Romantics. His highly skilful notation, with clear structures and a discreet colour, shows him to be an adept connoisseur of chamber music. The thematic material is subjected to a constant process of transformation. The transparent movement technique is impressive, as is the fine balance between the three instruments. The phrases are expressive and underpinned by a grand melodic impulse. The harmony, which is refined, at times almost exotic, occasionally takes bitonal colouring, and the use of dominant ninth chords indicate the influence not only of Claude Debussy, but also of George Gershwin.

CD Trio Gagnebin + Lauber: Carlos Gil-Gonzalo, Peter Lukas-Graf, Thomas Wicky

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