Love and pain inspired Glinka’s Trio Pathètique

glinka-trio
Solitude. © Charles Thibo

A forceful statement by the strings and the piano mark the beginning of this trio, and my immediate idea was Ludwig van Beethoven. But no, this piece was not written by the Vienna master, it stems from the “Father of Russian music”, Mikhail Glinka. The Trio Pathétique in D minor was written in 1832. Glinka was at that time 28 years old, a student at the Milan Conservatory. He had immersed himself in the works of opera composers such as Gaetano Donizetti and Vincenzo Bellini, which, according to writer Michael Jameson, “in part explains the character of this peculiarly un-Russian sounding work”.

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