As a musical form, the trio was not high on the 18th century popularity list. In fact, in Beethoven's Vienna, it was tough to even drum up a string trio group. The notoriously unadventurous Viennese valued tried and true musical forms and regarded anything new and innovative with suspicion. And if Beethoven was anything, he was bold, continually introducing musical elements of tremendous complexity and vision that must have caused his conservative contemporaries to run for the smelling salts. Perhaps in order to make the newfangled type of chamber music more palatable, Beethoven composed his Piano Trio, Op. 11, for the piano, clarinet and bassoon, woodwind instruments being in vogue at the time. Since then, the work has also been performed with violin and cello, as well as clarinet and cello. This week, Los Angeles Philharmonic Chamber Music presents members of the Phil performing the Op. 11 trio, along with Beethoven's String Quartet, Op. 95, dating from the composer's tormented later period, and Brahms's fiery, full-bodied String Quartet No. 2 in A major, Op. 26.

Tue., Nov. 3, 8 p.m., 2009

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