- String Trio, Op. 45
- Trio for strings No.2
- Trio for strings No.1, Op. 34
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The string trio is not an abundant genre in music of the 20th century, but the three examples presented here are probably the peaks, and they make effective foils for each other. The technically brutal "String Trio, Op. 45," of Schoenberg was written in 1946 and programmatically depicts (to a debated greater or lesser degree) the composer's heart attack and subsequent treatment, including adrenaline injections that probably saved his life. You could listen to it and then watch the musical-choreography open-heart surgery scene from Bob Fosse's film All That Jazz for the maximum experience, but the mastery over the work's violent, abrupt shifts and densely frantic passages displayed by Germany's Trio Zimmermann is entirely worth the money on its own. It's an effective finale for a program consisting of Paul Hindemith's two essays in the form. Hindemith apparently preferred the "Trio No. 2" of 1933, which, despite its move in the direction of the extended-tonal polyphony in his later works, still landed on the Nazis' list of degenerate works. The "Trio No. 1" of 1924 is an interesting experiment in neoclassic ideas: Hindemith devises a modern analogue for the Baroque concertante structure and then opposes it to a large final double fugue. Again, steely control over texture serves Trio Zimmermann well. Recommended for those who love the German modernist scene.