A Chance Encounter

During a sudden downpour in Manhatten in early February 1943, Sidney Foster, pianist in the Le Roy, Foster, Scholtz Trio, and composer Norman Dello Joio accidentally collided outside the Carnegie Tavern. This chance meeting was to be the start of a strong friendship between the two, starting with a piano sonata written in three days, and premiered by Foster in Carnegie Hall a month later.

Similarly to Martinu’s Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano, the Le Roy, Foster Scholtz Trio were also responsible for the composition of Dello Joio’s Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano. The two pieces were performed alongside each other in the premier recital of the Martinu Trio at New York Town Hall on February 28 1945. In contrast to the Martinu, however, Dello Joio’s Trio has slipped into obscurity while the Martinu became the most popular piece in the repertoire.

Born in 1913, Dello Joio followed in the footsteps of his Italian ancestors as a church organist from an early age. Dello Joio studied composition at Juilliard and later with renowned composer Paul Hindemith. Hindemith encouraged Dello Joio to follow his natural compositional instincts telling him “your music is lyrical by nature, never forget that.” This lead Dello Joio to develop a style drawing from the worlds of Italian opera, liturgical music, and jazz.

The final piece in our war era concert, the Dello Joio, like Martinu, shows very little indication of the horrors that had taken place in the world. Quirky and outspoken by nature, the piece takes advantage of bluesy harmonies, meandering melodies and strong rhythmic movement, contrasted by an atmospheric middle movement.