Giuseppe Maria Cambini (1746-1825)
It is quite likely that Giuseppe Cambini influenced the Parisian milieu with his typically Italian originality. He is regarded as a pre-Romantic composer not only because he anticipated the era of Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann and Chopin, but above all because of his pensive search for expression. This is the “Italian-style Romanticism” that Boccherini had forestalled in his isolation at the Spanish court. This music belongs to a “graceful, light, rococo style” that is not suitable for expressing the dramatic aspect of emotions, except in a few passages in minor tonality: the harpsichord predominates, the violin and oboe accompany it, with occasional solo parts, and the cello doubles the bass. The handwritten word “quartetti” therefore indicates a style that is different from that of the Baroque sonata a tre, where the harpsichord and the cello were confined to the accompaniment. The trio – originally for flute, oboe and bassoon – belongs to a collection of six trios, op. 45, that are very well-crafted, brilliant, with occasional hints of sadness. Rather than pre-Romantic, this music is the climax of the classical chamber-music era.