Artaria had already published variations on a Mozart aria by Beethoven in 1793 under the highly symbolic opus number 1. However, the composer was not satisfied with this work and ensured that the opus number was transferred to another group of works which appeared in 1795, the three Piano Trios Op.1. His hope that these compositions would be worthy of his “opus 1” and would make quite some impression was to be fulfilled.
The list of the subscribers to the first printed edition of the trios is impressive because it includes influential aristocrats, many of whom were connected to Haydn as the dedicatees of his works. Apparently Haydn lent a helping hand here to his former student. Also Haydn’s compositional influence on Beethoven can be found in many aspects of the trios. However, ultimately it will have been the innovative elements that astonished and delighted the audience of early Vienna: the virtuosity and scope of the unusually large-scale works, the unprecedented extended coda of the outer movements, the radicality of the dynamic contrasts and the introduction of remote keys as a means of musical expression.
In order to clarify some unclear readings, the editor and Beethoven specialist Jonathan Del Mar consulted Beethoven’s markings in his Op.104 (an arrangement of the Trio Op.1, No.3) – a source that has not been taken into consideration for any previous edition of this trio.
- Urtext edition edited by Beethoven specialist Jonathan Del Mar
- With an Introduction by Misha Donat on the genesis of this group of works (Eng/Ger) and a Critical Commentary (Eng)