“What a salad, you’ll say! But that is how I love music, taking as my models whatever pleases me…from every source.”
In writing this sentence, which follows a long list of the composers he admires, Poulenc was not referring specifically to this work, although he might as well have been. While the work itself is dedicated to Manuel de Falla, the first and third movements sit within structural outlines borrowed from Haydn and Saint- Saëns, and the second movement is distinctly Mozartean in flavour.
Poulenc was clearly quite clearly happy to borrow from the best of those who’d come before him: He felt no pressure to develop music that was new in every regard, writing “…I think there’s room for “New” music which doesn’t mind using other people’s chords. Wasn’t that the case with Mozart-Schubert?”.
Thus the composer was free to concentrate on those aspects of music at which he excelled: melody, balance, clarity, and an ever-present sense of fun. In doing so developed a voice that is wholly unique, and his music is never mere imitation.
This trio, a favourite of the composer’s and now one of his best-known works displays his ability to distil elements from a range of sound worlds into clear, coherent and beautifully balanced works of art.