Piano Trio (1911) by Charles Ives
for violin, cello, and piano

I. Moderato
II. TSIAJ (This Scherzo is a Joke)
III. Moderato con moto

Ample evidence, including a statement by the composer's wife, indicates that Charles Ives' Piano Trio is a musical reflection, ten years post-graduation, of his student life at Yale University. The first movement consists of three repetitions of the same 27-measure block of thematic material: first with cello and piano, then with violin and piano, and finally with all three instruments combined. The second movement, which in a play on the word scherzo (joke) is subtitled TSIAJ (This Scherzo is a Joke), derives its humor from a broad display of the distorted folk melody quotations which were a hallmark of Ives' music throughout his career; here, the selections include fraternity and campus songs from his university days. The final movement continues the parade of developed quotations in repeated alternation of lyrical and syncopated episodes, concluding with a quote from Thomas Hastings' Rock of Ages.

[from program for March 19, 2012 concert]