When they formed in 1941, the trio of flautist René Le Roy, cellist Janos Scholz and pianist Sidney Foster had precious little repertoire to draw on. Languishing on music store shelves, were scores of ageing trios by composers such as Weber and Boieldieu. In order to breath life into an overlooked instrumental combination, the trio commissioned works from living composers.
Since Martinu’s emigration to America in 1941, his music had slowly been gaining traction in the US. Having met during Martinu’s time in Paris, Le Roy and the trio commissioned a work from Martinu to be performed in New York’s Town Hall.
The trio for flute, cello and piano that resulted from this commission reflects Martinu’s diverse and eclectic life. From his childhood spent living in a clocktower, to the influences of jazz and Stravinsky in Paris, the work is an example of Martinu’s gradually maturing style underlined by his constant faithfulness to his homeland. This trio has since become the most renowned piece of the repertoire.