I love to think about the 18-year -old Debussy writing this piece. In a letter to Tchaikovsky, that Russian composer’s patroness Madame von Meck said that Debussy wrote the trio while he was employed by her as piano instructor for her children and as pianist, working with her on pieces for piano four hands. This was during the summer of 1880 while the composer was staying in Fiesole, Italy. The G. Henle Verlag edition published in 1986 is the first edition of Debussy’s trio, taken from autograph sources which can be found in the Pierpont Morgan Library, (New York) and the School of Music, The University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). The first library mentioned contains the source material for the first movement and a cello part and the second has the last three movements. These later were discovered by the editor of the Henle Edition, Ellwood Derr. I am excited to be working on this piece partly because of its relatively new publication date and because it’s always fascinating to me to study composers’ early works and see where they got their influences from. The edition’s preface mentions the influences of César Franck and as a lover of his sonata as many people are I can definitely hear some similarities. The preface also mentions Robert Schumann and there is a distinctive German Romantic feel to playing this piece. And with all that it’s is so fun when a true “Debussy” moment happens.
I’ll be performing this and two other French/French-influenced pieces in upcoming live performances with Dr. Vernon Snyder (piano) and Mikko Pablo (cello). Our first performance will be in Arcadia. You can get info and directions at http://www.vernonsnyder.com/Events.html