Glinka - Trio Pathétique in D Minor15:28

Glinka - Trio Pathétique in D Minor


Mikhail Glinka (1804-1857) considered the father of Russian nationalistic music, greatly influenced the Russian Mighty Five and Tchaikovsky. His operas, Ruslan and A Life for the Tsar, set the stage for the next generation of Russian composers, freeing them from the German influence.  In his childhood, Glinka learned folksongs from servants in his father’s house, eventually incorporating these into his works. A sickly child, Glinka’s doctors recommended a sojourn in Italy. After meeting both Donizetti and Bellini during his three years there, Glinka returned to Russia, bringing with him the Italian operatic influence. His early music, especially the instrumental, clearly reflects the late classical influences of Field and Schubert. His piano melodies follow the classical forms set by that era.

IMSLP46826-PMLP41867-Glinka - Trio pathetique for Piano Trio pianopage 1

Title page of 29pages


Trio Path'étique in d minor for Clarinet, Bassoon, & Piano reflects the early Romantic period in its change of traditional trio instrumentation. When it was published, his publishers requested a traditional arrangement as well, resulting in the alternate choices of violin, cello and piano. This is one of few Russian piano trios to enter the Western repertory. Following the traditional four-movement form, it reflects Beethoven and Schubert. However, the first three movements give the piece a through-composed feel, as they are played straight through. The final movement allows a short pause before continuing into the allegro con spirito. The main motive appears early in the first movement, allegro moderato. In measures 5-8, the clarinet establishes the theme and it is repeated sequentially throughout the remainder of the piece. In measures 35-46, each instrument takes 4 bars, and repeats the variation: first bassoon, then clarinet, followed by piano. The largo movement features a clarinet solo similar to that of von Weber, allowing the German influence into the piece.

Here is the link for the entire pdf:,_Mikhail%29


I decided to compare this to Berlioz: Harold in Italy, since Glinka and Berlioz knew each other.Harold in Italy seems to be more firmly entrenched in the Romantic era than Trio Path'étique in d minor for Clarinet, Bassoon, & Piano. Harold in Italy, although thicker in texture because of the orchestral accompaniment, also has larger dynamic changes than the trio piece. In fact, the trio, seems to be more of the late classical era, with the exception of the non-traditional instrumentation for trios.    


As I researched this piece, one article mentioned that Glinka took several lessons with John Field while Field was in Russia. I thought that interesting, since I researched Field for late Romantic, but had not read anything about their connection previously.

Works CitedEdit

All Media Network. Trio pathétique, for clarinet (or violin), bassoon (or cello) & piano in D minor, G. iv173. Web page. 2014.

Campbell, Stuart. "Glinka, Mikhail Ivanovich." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, accessed April 6, 2014,

Crocker, Richard. A History of Musical Style, 183-219. New York: Dover Publications, 1986.

Edition Silvertrust. Trio Path'étique in d minor for Clarinet, Bassoon, & Piano or Violin, Cello & Piano. Web page. 2014.

IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library. Mikhail Glinka: Trio Path'étique in d minor.,_Mikhail%29.

Randal, Don Michael, ed. “Trio.” The Harvard Dictionary of Music, 4th ed. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University, 2003.

Stolba, K. Marie. The Development of Western Music: A History. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill,1998.

Weiss, Piero, and Richard Taruskin, ed. “The Cult of Blague: Satie and “The Six.” Music in the Western World: A History in Documents, 152-155. Belmont, CA: Thomson, 2008.

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