• Lennox Berkeley
  • String Trio (1943)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)
  • vln.vla.vc
  • 17 min

Programme Note

Sir Lennox Berkeley wrote his String Trio in 1943 and it is dedicated to Frederick Grinke, Watson Forbes and James Phillips.

The work falls into three separate movements all of which show a debt to classical formal procedures. The first is a well-defined sonata form, with a second subject in 5 / 8, in which rhythmic interest is to the fore, to contrast with the languid lyricism of the opening 4/4. The second movement is a simple ternary form and the third is a rumbustious rondo which contains several repetitions of the main theme in various guises, with a contrasting slow section before the climatic coda.

While there exists in the String Trio a tinge of the French influence that Sir Lennox found under the tuition of Nadia Boulanger and also ample evidence of his respect for composers of the past (especially Mozart), the voice is unique. The writing emphasises his remarkable ability to achieve a bitter-sweet, most approachable lyricism whilst maintaining with unfailing clarity rich contrapuntal interest.

James Rushton