Piano Trio No.5

About this work

In the summer of 1788, Mozart found himself in a quandary. Although his financial fortunes continued to sink, his artistic genius blazed, having just driven him to complete the monumental 39th symphony, the E flat K. 543, and simultaneously, a piano trio, the E major, K. 542, his finest work in that form. In days, he began yet another magnificent symphony which would become the G minor, K. 550, and during its gestation, he seems to have found time to work on the C major trio. As there are differences between the two symphonies, there are differences between the two piano trios. Whereas the E major symphony and the E flat trio are complex, exuberant works, full of expression and chromatic adventure, the G minor symphony and this trio are much more constricted and smaller in scope. The trio in fact seems suspiciously to have been written for performance by amateur musicians in the hope that the composer might make a few quick florins by selling it. The first movement opens as simply as any teaching exercise and although there are some bravura passages and runs, the work is after all in C major and the difficulty is slight. A center, development section, contains accidentals and modulations but these are timid as opposed to the aggressive, even maniacal ones found in the K. 542 trio and the K. 543 symphony. An extended andante of over nine and a half minutes is likewise in the key of C and is elementary throughout.