Trio No. 1 for Flute, Cello, and Piano, Op. 83
This trio is in four movements, and all three instruments participate equably in Liebermann’s deft textures, though the flute is clearly the first among these equals, leading the conversation.
Liebermann opens with a propulsive and darkly dramatic Allegro, developed through motivic extension and points of imitation. A contrasting section is more lyrical, with a passionate tune shared by flute and cello over rippling piano motion.
A-B-A forms are sometimes called romanzas or song forms, and Liebermann’s Moderato movement is indeed full of instrumental song. The precisely pointed piano accompaniment drops out in the middle, for a quiet flute and cello duet.
The Largo begins as a pensive instrumental recitative. The underlying pulse may be slower than that of the Moderato, but the surface movement is often not. It comes close to the sound world of Dmitri Shostakovich, though hardly as bleak, rising to an intense climax, then ending as it began.
There is much of Shostakovich also in the vehement and bristling Presto. Quick and full of fire and fury, it dashes to a brilliant close.