Piano Trio No. 1 (the “Fish Trio”) was written for the Aronoff Chamber Music Series, and originally featured two violas (although versions for violin and viola or violin and cello are also available).
Although it is a musically serious piece, it depicts a humorous story of an innocent trout living in an aquarium under the hungry eyes of two cats. Who will get the upper paw?
The first movement opens with a musical portrait of the aquarium, borrowed from Saint-Saëns’ charming Carnival of the Animals. This theme then transforms into the immediately recognizable melody from Franz Schubert’s Trout Quintet. The second movement, whose title translates “slowly, with the lethargy of two cats on a hot summer’s afternoon,” introduces the two felines napping just outside the aquarium. The third movement depicts the chaos that ensues once the wakened cats notice our fishy hero. Alas, if you listen closely to the end of this movement, you will hear the piano portray the fish’s last wiggle as the cats ensnare their prey. The final movement finds the satiated kitties settling in for yet another snooze to after-dinner music provided by Frédéric Chopin.