Editorial Notes -- Trio in G Minor by William Wallace Gilchrist
There is no date on the manuscript, but the first record of a performance is in a recital for a meeting
(reported on in an article in the Music Quarterly of 1932) in 1894. The first known public performance
was in 1896 in a concert held by the Manuscript Music Society of Philadelphia.
Performers are unknown, but likely included the dedicatee, Richard Zeckwer (a friend of Glichrist,
evidently a fine pianist and the son of Gilchristʼs mentor via the Mendelssohn Society of Philadelphia for
which Gilchrist composed many of his choral works.(1)
The manuscript, in ink on vellum (presumably in the composerʼs hand) is at the Free Library of
Philadelphia; it is what can only be loosely termed a “working” manuscript consisting of a piano score
and separate violin and cello parts. The editorʼs guess is that the manuscript was secured by the
Fleischer Collection to be copied into a “fair copy,” and that that task was never fulfilled.
There is much evidence of minor rewriting in the manuscript, with some measures crossed out, notes
rescored, etc. Unfortunately, there are also some discrepencies between the solo parts in the piano
score and those in the discrete solo parts; there is no indication as to which is the final version of the
Examples of the above include a scale passage in the violin part of the Adagio (m. 156) which does not
appear in the piano score (a one-measure trill appears instead); another, and the most drastic, is a
seven-measure section beginning in measure 49 of the Scherzo in which the cello part manuscript is
completely different in notes and character from the part in the piano score. These, however, are the
most extreme variants.
The editor has chosen to present the parts as found in the piano score, with notes regarding
discrepencies in the part manuscripts printed on the individual parts of this edition.
When there are differences between dynamics or even pitches between the part manuscripts and the
piano score manuscript these are noted on the solo parts. Articulations are generally taken from the
part manuscripts, rather than the piano score manuscript, with those differences noted on the parts.
When an intent of a dynamic level is clear but missing the editor has noted the dynamics in
parentheses (the last movement is particularly sparce with respect to dynamic notation in all parts of
the piano score manuscript).
The editor gratefully acknowledges the help of Kile Smith, Judith D. Harvey and Denise McGiboney of
the Free Library of Philadelphia music staff for their kind assistance.
1) William Wallace Gilchrist (1846-1916) A Moving Force in the Musical Life of Philadelphia; Martha Furman Schleifer;
Scarecrow Press, Metuchen, NJ, 1985.
Rudy Volkmann, DMA