Ludwig van Beethoven
Beethoven wrote his Trio in B-flat for Piano, Clarinet and Cello, Op. 11 in 1798, when he was twenty-eight years old, and published it that same year. Dedicated to the Countess Maria von Thun (a patroness and advocate of Gluck, Haydn and Mozart), the works first performance was in 1800 at a soirée given by the Count von Fries. This concert was a musical duel between Beethoven and another pianist, Daniel Steibelt. When Beethoven played his newly-composed Trio for Piano, Clarinet and Cello, Daniel Steibelt, unable to top the fluid virtuosity of the last movement, conceded that Beethoven had won the musical contest. The Trio was a critical success, as well. Following the publishing of the Trio, a critic for the Leipzig journal "Allegmeine Musikalische Zeitung" said: "This trio, which in places is not easy, but which flows more smoothly than some other works of its composer, makes a good ensemble effect with the accompaniment played on a fortepiano. This composer, with his uncommon understanding of harmony and his love of profound expression, would give us a great deal of value, leaving the insipid efforts of many a celebrated composer far behind, if he would only write always in a more natural than far-fetched manner," (page 133, cited in "Beethoven's Piano Trios and Piano Quartets" by Friedhelm Klugmann, from Ludwig van Beethoven, ed. Joseph Schmidt-Görg).