Russian Piano Trios
A mournful, melancholic influence became characteristic of the Russian piano trio. Alexander Alyabyev had displayed considerable musical talent as a young man. While still a serving officer in the Hussars, he began composing chamber music, writing string quartets, piano trios and many other chamber works, and soon turned his hand to music for orchestra (symphonies, overtures) and vocal works (operas, sacred and secular choral works and some 150 songs). He occupied much of his time in exile by collecting folk melodies. Sergey Rakhmaninov a truly phenomenal Russian piano virtuoso, composer and conductor (notably at the Bolshoi Theatre), was pre-eminently a composer for piano, whether in solo piano compositions, piano works for four hands or six hands, or pieces for two pianos. His chamber music too is dominated by works featuring the piano (piano trios and duo compositions). He also wrote major works for piano and orchestra: his Piano Concertos nos. 1-4 and the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Arno Babadjanyan’s compositional output, showing the clear influence of Khachaturian, extended to an impressive variety of genres. Apart from works for solo piano and two pianos, he composed chamber music, music for orchestra, ballet music, film music, a nocturne for piano and symphonic jazz ensemble, and over 200 songs. His oeuvre upholds the tradition of the greatest composers of his day: Khachaturian, Rakhmaninov, Shostakovich and Prokofiev.