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Examination of the Trio


The available sources for the Trio are:

      Source (a): Hurlstone's autograph score, movements 1, 2, 4 - William Waterhouse Private Library, Gloucestershire.

      Source (b): Hurlstone's autograph score Scherzo movement - RCM, London ms 4537.

      Source (c): Professional copy of the piano score movements 1, 2, 4, evidently made from (a) - RCM, London.

      Source (d): Copyist's clarinet and bassoon parts movements 1, 2, 4 - Waterhouse Library, Gloucestershire.

      Source (e): Copyist's clarinet and bassoon parts movements 1, 2, 4 - RCM, London.

      Source (f): Emerson's first edition of the Trio in G Minor, 1983

      Source (g): Emerson's second edition of the Trio in G Minor, 1998 edited by Diana Bickley.

Source (a) is written on 12-stave paper 300mm x 242mm. Each movement is bound into its own fascicle and the three fascicles bound within boards covered with dark green cloth. The front board is inscribed with the title and composer's name, but not in the composer's hand. The inside of the front board gives details of the players from a 1939 performance organised by John Parr. The inside back board has the programme bill for that performance. The pages of each movement are numbered from 1. In addition, pages are also numbered from the beginning to the end of the entire trio, but not in the composer's hand. There are also pencilled page numbers and evidence of numbering alterations. The first page of each movement bears Katharine Hurlstone's name and address, but there is neither signing nor dating by the composer. Arabic numerals 4, 2 and 1 (though the latter is possibly a comma) appear in blue-black ink, in a style consistent with the composer's hand, at the head of page 1 of each movement (4 first, 1 last). Large blue pencil numerals also appear on the first pages of each of the movements, numbered 1, 2 and 3. Bar numbers are written at the right-hand end of each stave and ringed rehearsal letters appear in red ink. They progress throughout the entire trio. The last movement also has pencilled rehearsal letters starting at A. The music is written in a neat hand using blue-black ink. There are very few alterations. Pencilled dynamics and articulations appear throughout the work; these seem to be in a hand consistent with that of the composer's. Occasionally one comes across a reworking where the penned music is crossed out using pencil and a revised section appears following the deletion. The outmoded abbreviation cres for crescendo is used consistently in both pen and pencil throughout the work. The composer's characteristic p and f are markings consistent whether written in pen or pencil; they also agree with those used in other Hurlstone autographs. It is apparent that the manuscript paper has been reused, as pencilled sketches appear upside-down at the back of each fascicle. In general the paper is clean and in good condition however the first page of the last movement shows considerable darkening though exposure to dust, dirt and handling.

Source (b) is written on 12-stave paper 300x242mm. The handwriting style is consistent with Source (a). Most is in blue-black ink with emendations made in pencil. The use of cres is consistent throughout. The autograph is neither signed nor dated but is unmistakably in Hurlstone's hand. The head of page 1 bears an Arabic numeral 3 in blue-black ink; underneath and to the left, the word Trio. As with Source (a) there are signs of the paper having been previously used for a pencil sketch.

Source (c) is written in a professional musical hand. It is evidently a direct copy of Source (a). However there are numerous mistakes in this copy. In particular: grace notes and octava makings are incorrect; there are wrong and omitted notes; some dynamics are omitted and some are misconstrued. The copyist also seemed uncertain whether to accept the pencilled emendations in the autograph.

Source (d) comprises the bassoon and clarinet parts in the same hand as Source (c). They are consistent with Source (c). Ringed rehearsal letters in red ink have been added to the bassoon as have bar numbers and a programme bill from the Parr performance (4th March 1939), which is pasted into the end cover. The front cover of the bassoon part bears the title of the work and the composer's name in Parr's handwriting together with Katharine Hurlstone's name and address in her own hand. The clarinet part is more or less clean except for the occasional ringing of a rehearsal letter. The front cover bears only the hand of Katharine Hurlstone.

Source (e) comprises a duplicate set of parts made by the author of Source (c). Here the clarinet part contains the programme bill from the Parr concert and also the ringed rehearsal letters in red ink. The bassoon part is similarly marked but in addition there are numerous emendations to articulation and accentuation in blue-black ink.

Source (f) is a faithful imprint of Source (c). No editorial alterations have been applied.

Source (g) was commissioned by the publisher to deal with the problems inherent in the Source (f) and therefore Source (c) on which it was based. The musicologist Diana Bickley was appointed to undertake this task. At that time the location of the autograph score was unknown to both the editor and publisher. So, with access only to Source (c), Bickely addressed matters of inconsistency by making parts and score agree. She was not to know that many of the expression marks present in the bassoon part (of Sources (f) and (c)) were inauthentic.


It is clear that both Sources (a) and (b) are genuine Hurlstone. The consistency between the pencil and pen markings and between the two sources suggests strongly that the pencil is also Hurlstone's. We are able to perceive his compositional process: first a pencil sketch (perhaps) from the back of the manuscript paper. Then, a near fair copy in ink where all matters of harmony, melody and tempi are settled. Occasionally there is a change of mind, whereupon Hurlstone deletes the penned section, crossing it out in pencil, and proceeds with the revision in pen. The next stage is to add articulation, dynamics and accentuation in pencil. Here Hurlstone affords himself some short cuts: where it is obvious that a similar emendation is to be applied to another part he marks only the first occurrence. The final stage is to make a fair copy of score and parts. On completion he signs and dates the score after or below the last bar.

Sources (c), (d) and (e) are all made by the same copyist. The emendations in coloured ink, blue pencil, rehearsal letters and bar numbers are unmistakably John Parr's. He possessed a large library of chamber music from which it is possible to see the same treatment being applied to works whether in printed or manuscript form. Thus, the emendations in coloured ink and coloured pencil in Source (a) are also due to Parr.

It is possible to say with confidence that the extraneous and exaggerated expression marks that appeared in the bassoon part to Emersonʼs first edition of the Trio can be safely ignored. Had it not been for the faulty copying on the score (Source (c)), the Emerson edition might have been rectifiable directly from the Emerson piano score. However, such are the discrepancies between Sources (a) and (c) that a note by note comparison between Emerson and Source (a) has been necessary to produce a corrected set of parts.

Date of Composition

Graphological analysis suggests the Trio cannot have been composed later than 1897. Hurlstone produces a fair copy with parts for most of his compositions, and destroys earlier workings. Those in fair-copy form are dated and signed - usually after or below the final bar. From this it has been possible to correlate handwriting style, clef-style, the use of cursive and Roman letters (A & H in particular), and the size and format of manuscript paper with composition dates. A consistent pattern emerges among his chamber compositions:

  • to June 1898: 13 compositions: 12-stave paper 300mm x 242mm

  • June 1898: String Quartet in E Minor: 20-stave paper 322mm x 242mm

  • from July 1899: 14 compositions: 18-stave paper 370mm x 272mm

  • 1906: 2 compositions: 16-stave paper 368mm x 272mm

  • post 1896: Roman H only

  • post 1897: Roman A only

Works prior to June 1898 invariably have decorative scroll-work adorning their title pages. Apart from one work in 1900, Hurlstone dispenses with this frivolity after 1898. Of the 10 undated chamber works, none contradicts this pattern.

Both autograph Sources (a) and (b) exhibit the following graphological characteristics:

  • Use of Cursive upper-case letters in Allegro, Bassoon, Clarinet and Piano

  • Use of 12-stave manuscript paper 300mm x 242mm

  • No decorative title page, though this might be a facet of the manuscript not being in fair-copy form

  • Notation in a typically tidy hand, however the clefs show signs of being written at speed and are are consistent with those in the Variations for Orchestra on an Original Theme (1896)

These considerations lead to the conclusion that the Trio in G Minor is likely to have been composed in 1896/97.

The theme used in the Variations for Orchestra on an Original Theme (1896) was precisely that used in the earlier Variations in G Minor for Clarinet, Bassoon and Piano (1894). Some of the variational thematic material is also shared. It appears that the idea of writing a set of variations, which started as a modest chamber work, eventually manifested itself as a full orchestral work. Though a student work, these orchestral variations exhibit a considerable advancement in maturity of style over the variations for trio. Hurlstone may well have felt motivated to replace the now superseded trio with a more mature work based on new ideas.

During 1896 and 97 Hurlstone expanded his scope to include orchestral compositions. In this period he produced at least three substantial works - Variations for Orchestra on an Original Theme, Variations for Orchestra on a Hungarian Theme, Piano Concerto in D Major - which may may have left him with little time to complete the finishing touches to a work for which there was no imminent performance. Furthermore, his Quintet in G Minor for Piano and Wind received its first performance at an RCM Concert on the 30th June 1897. This suggests that he must have been busy with the Quintet at the same time as he was drafting the Trio in G Minor. It seems likely that he had set aside completion of the trio because of more pressing commitments.

Association of the Scherzo

There are two facts that strongly suggest the Scherzo is a movement of the Trio in G Minor:

  1. The presence of the Arabic numerals at the head of each movement. In Source (a): 4, 2 and 1. In Source (b): 3.

  2. The back of the second movement of Source (a) contains a pencil sketch of the opening of the Scherzo. Hurlstone would have been working on both Sources (a) and (b) contemporaneously.

Furthermore, the Arabic numerals suggest that the conceived order of the movements was with the outer two interchanged. Thus:

  1. Allegro moderato (keys g - G - g)

  2. Andante (keys Eb - Ab - Eb)

  3. Scherzo: Allegro con moto - Piu Lento - Allegro con moto (keys c - C - c)

  4. Andante maestoso - Allegro vivace (keys g - G)

In this revised format his use of keys and tempi makes a great deal of sense: to start in the minor and end in the major; and conclude the last movement with the fastest and most triumphal section of the entire Trio is highly satisfactory. However, with the outer movements interchanged (4, 2, (3) then 1) the piece now has an unconvincing ending on grounds of tempo and key change; There is little musical sense for the exchange of outer movements, unless the Scherzo had indeed become misplaced. Under that circumstance one might just argue that a better contrast in tempi is achieved.

Was the omission of the Scherzo accidental or deliberate (given that there are no musical grounds for doing so)?

There are two possible reasons for deliberate removal:

  1. A performance was planned but with insufficient time to allow for the complete work to be played;

  2. A performance was planned where the skill of the pianist was not on a par with Hurlstone's (the Scherzo is arguably the hardest movement of the four from the pianist's perspective).

Whilst these are possible, neither argues for permanent exclusion of the Scherzo; and with no evidence of a performancei ever occurring during Hurlstone's lifetime one must conclude that the separation was accidental.

On Hurlstone's death most of his musical effects were retained by his sister Katharine with a few apparently going to his middle sister Lucy. Though we have no direct evidence for this, those scores in Katharine's possession all bear her name and address; while the few manuscripts that were bequeathed to the RCM by Lucy's daughter, Catherine Hurlstone Waddicor, were either unmarked or annotated with only the Waddicor name. Movements 1, 2, and 4 are annotated with Katharine's name and address while the separated 3rd movement possesses no such additions. Given the dirty appearance of the first page of the last movement of Source (a) (the original first movement) one might surmise that the Trio had been stored for many years in its complete and original ordering.

Before accepting this conclusion one must explain the binding of Source (a) in cloth-covered boards. Nearly all of Hurlstone's manuscripts are in small fascicles and unbound. The exceptions are:

  • Variations in G Minor for Clarinet, Bassoon and Piano

  • Trio in G Minor for Clarinet, Bassoon and Piano

  • Scherzo for Flute, Oboe, Horn and Piano

Each of these is bound in the same cloth boards, each heavily annotated by John Parr, with title page and programme bill additions. The covers are inscibed in Parr's hand. That Katharine adds her name and address to the first page of each of the movements of the Trio in G Minor suggests each of the constituent fascicles came into her hands as separate entities. A reasonable explanation must be that Parr, who had borrowed the Trio from Katharine Hurlstone for some considerable time, had had it bound.

One can be reasonably sure that instrumental parts were never made by Hurlstone because the autograph sources, (a) and (b), are at a compositional stage prior to production of fair copies. Thus, when Katharine had requests for the Trio from both John Parr and The Pauline Juler Trioii, she commissioned a copy of the score and two sets of parts to make two performable sets of material.

i K. Hurlstone p. 58 See endnote also 6.

ii K. Hurlstone p. 58. The Pauline Juler Trio flourished in the 1930s.


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