A Masterful Beginning
Hans von Bülow ranked it above the works of Schubert and Schumann, and even the critics in England were unanimous: Bernhard Molique’s music absolutely must be heard more often! Answering this call, the Trio Parnassus begins with a presentation of the two piano trios of a musician whose great compositional artistry makes us wonder how he ever could have been completely forgotten.
Molique, who for a short time perfected his violin playing under the great Louis Spohr, was a member of the “Davidsbündler” led by Robert Schumann, regularly concertized with Mendelssohn, was on friendly terms with Theobald Böhm, and enjoyed Hector Berlioz’s respect. Joseph Joachim valued his violin concertos, especially the fifth. His first piano trio also radiates romantic spirit in the best sense of the term. It displays a very original form (the two classical middle movements, scherzo and adagio, are interwoven in a previously unprecedented manner) and is magnificently designed, though sometimes harsh in expression.
By contrast, the second is significantly “listenerfriendlier” and has catchy melodies and a virtuoso piano part on the same high level as Mendelssohn’s masterpieces. The andante of the second movement moves us with its pizzicato accompaniment and reminiscences of Schubert suggesting simplicity of folk song character – this is great art, and the Trio Parnassus once again displays its fabulous powers of presentation.
A Beautiful Mind
Autopsy surgeons certified post mortem that Molique had a “marvelously rare beauty of the brain” and especially a “remarkable depth and perfection of the place where, according to Gall, the musical faculty lies.” Might this explain the extraordinary quality of his compositions? Whatever the case, even without scientific proof his music immediately invites us to explore it – and to enjoy it!