The Piano Trio No. 1 in B major, Op. 8, by Johannes Brahms was completed in January 1854, when the composer was only twenty years old, published in November 1854 and premiered on 13 October 1855 in Danzig. It has often been mistakenly claimed that the first performance had taken place in the United States. Brahms produced a revised version of the work in summer 1889 that shows significant alterations so that it may even be regarded as a distinct (fourth) piano trio. This “New Edition” (Neue Ausgabe), as he called it, was premiered on 10 January 1890 in Budapest and published in February 1891.
The trio is scored for piano, violin and cello, and it is the only work of Brahms to exist today in two published versions, although it is almost always the revised version that is being performed today. The work is homotonal, with two movements in the key of B major and two in B minor. It is also among the few multimovement works to begin in a major key and end in the tonic minor (another example being Felix Mendelssohn's "Italian" Symphony).
The trio is in four movements:
Original version (1854): (a performance typically takes around 42 minutes)
- Allegro con moto — Tempo un poco più Moderato — Schnell (494 bars)
- Scherzo: Allegro molto — Trio: Più lento — Tempo primo (459 bars)
- Adagio non troppo — Allegro — Tempo primo (157 bars)
- Finale: Allegro molto agitato — Un poco più lento — Tempo primo (518 bars)
Revised version (Neue Ausgabe) (1889): (a performance typically takes around 33 minutes)
- Allegro con brio — Tranquillo — In tempo ma sempre sostenuto (289 bars)
- Scherzo: Allegro molto — Meno allegro — Tempo primo (460 bars)
- Adagio (99 bars)
- Finale: Allegro (322 bars)