Francesco Molino: Second Grand Trio Concertant, op. 45. Preface

The complete preface, by Brian Jeffery

This is another very fine trio, following on from Molino’s Trois Trios op. 4 and his Grand Trio Concertant op. 30.  It has been known for very many years since Heinrich Albert published it (parts only) with Zimmermann in about 1910. In 1986 I published it in a facsimile edition. However, this present edition is the first time as far as I know that a modern edition with score has been published.

Again this is a major work. It begins with a long allegro. Then a romance, adagio, really beautiful, just as was the romanza in op. 4 no. 1. Finally, a rondo with lots of energy. Throughout the work as in op. 4 and op. 30 there are plenty of exchanges between the viola and the guitar, and the guitar has a full part to play, not just providing a bass but participating as one of three equal players.

Flute or violin?

In the Trois Trios op. 4 the title-page specified flute, and there was no sign of any violin fingering in that work. So in those trios op. 4, it would appear that the flute was definitely the intended instrument.

In the Grand Trio Concertant op. 30 the title-page specified flûte ou violon and there was no fingering nor anything else which I can see which might suggest that the part was intended for either one of the instruments rather than the other.

However, in this Second Grand Trio Concertant op. 45, although the title-page specifies flûte ou violon, violin fingering is present in that part. So, is this a genuinely adaptable part conceived as such by the composer, or is it in fact a violin part which you can, if you like, play on the flute?

The fingering is in the Allegro, bars 45, 49, 90, 159, 163, and 204, and in the Romanza, bar 39, with the indication 2e Corde. In this edition I have kept the fingering exactly as it is in the original.

At the suggestion of Ian Harwood I asked the violinist Judy Tarling, who is the author of the book Baroque String Playing and the leader of Peter Holman’s ‘Parley of Instruments’ about it, and she kindly commented as follows:

“I’ve looked at the part and it is very interesting indeed to have these fingering instructions. They do all indeed work on the violin and indicate slides or portamento. I couldn’t judge whether this music is suitable for flute, but it is very violinistic. The fingerings are slightly inconsistent in that sometimes the fingering is only on the second note of the slide, in which case I assume the same finger is to be used on the previous note, which would be a sensible fingering. Other places (perhaps where more is to be made of the effect) have the same finger marked on two notes plus ‘gliss’, i.e. glissando. I hope you will preserve these fingerings in your edition, as players have rather lost touch with this effect which began to be used in the late 18th century. It is considered rather tasteless nowadays, but Clive Brown has written about it in a very good article in JRMA 1988 p. 97-128.”

To me, this seems to fit well with Molino’s apparent aim, that of great beauty, in a rococo kind of way if one can call it that.

So it seems conclusive that the violin was in mind when he wrote this work. That doesn’t mean that the part cannot alternatively be played on the flute as the title-page says. The wording flûte ou violon on the title-pages doesn’t necessarily have to be dismissed as a mere commercial wording on the part of the publisher.

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The Second Grand Trio Concertant op. 45 was published in two editions more or less at the same time somewhere about 1824: one in Paris published by Molino in association with Lemoine, and one in Leipzig published by Breitkopf & Härtel (I published a facsimile of this in Tecla in 1986). A comparison of the two editions shows that the German edition has a bar missing in the viola part whereas in the Paris edition it is correct, and that the German edition lacks many dynamic indications which are present in the Paris edition. It appears, therefore, either that Breitkopf & Härtel copied the Paris edition (less likely, because it seems unlikely that the very careful German engravers would have omitted in error not only a whole bar but also so many dynamics) or else (more likely) that Molino had a copy of his manuscript made to send to Germany and that it was the copyist of that second manuscript who made the errors. However that may be, for this present edition I have preferred to use the Paris edition as the basis for the text. The wording of the original French edition is as follows:

Second Grand Trio Concertant pour Flûte ou Violon, Alto et Guitare Dédié à Mons. Amédée Ardisson Grand Amateur par F. Molino. Opera 45. Propriété de l’Auteur. Déposé à la Direction. Prix 7f. 50c. À Paris Chez l’Auteur Rue de l’Echelle no. 8. et Chez Henry Lemoine Rue de l’Echelle no. 9.

The dedicatee Amédée Ardisson was the composer of a song listed in the National Union Catalog: Le portrait de Zélie, romance avec accompagnement de piano ou harpe (Paris, no date [c. 1820]).

I wish to express my thanks to Mário Carreira and his colleagues who kindly proofread the Molino trios and suggested corrections. Of course any errors which remain are my reponsibility.

Brian Jeffery

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NOTES

Allegro, bar 10, flute. In the Paris edition, the A in bar 9 is sharp, but the A in bar 10 has no marking. Was the a in bar 10 intended to be also sharp? Or, in the absence of a marking, should we go back to the key-signature and play it natural? The Breitkopf & Härtel edition puts a natural sign (and that is carried through to the Zimmermann edition which probably derives from it), but as we saw that Breitkopf & Härtel edition has no authority. Personally I think it is better sharp and I have therefore put that, in brackets, in this edition. It fits with Molino’s way of having short harmonic “crunches” which are quickly resolved (see for example the trio op. 30, variations, bar 36).

Rondo. Bars 158-166 are a flourish on the guitar. Players might wish to consider adding a short cadenza or something similar at bars 165-166.


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