The Trio com piano, op. 64 (1985), commissioned by the Fundação Gulbenkian, was completed in August 1985, having its premiere, in the Gulbenkian's Grand Auditorium on May 20, 1986, given by the Mirecourt Trio (USA) - dedicatees of the work. A tonally free work, its three movements invert the traditional sequence (fast-slow-fast) to adopt the Largo / Allegro / Lento sequence that is reminiscent of a baroque ‘sonata da chiesa’ amputated from the fast terminal movement.
The relatively brief 1st movement is presented in the form of an initial “portico”, strings in harmonics (in intervals of a perfect fifth and then octaves) over a pentatonic melody in the piano. This is followed by the central section (B), in which the violin and cello unveil long song-like phrases, always supported by the piano, into which two “incisions” with a structural function are inserted. The initial melodic material returns in the strings (unison) in the final "portico", closing with a new 'incision' on the piano and echoed by the strings until it is consummated in a 'pp' unison A.
The ‘Allegro’ is one of the great moments in the author’s chamber music. We could almost call it ‘Allegro barbaro’, such is the indomitable character and inexorable momentum of this ‘moto perpetuo’! It is predominantly in 4/4. Rhapsodic (with recurrences) in form and nature, it presents practically all the motivic material (mainly rhythmic cells) in the first 30 bars, after which it treats it freely, sometimes varying textures (including types of articulation), sometimes introducing new types of accompaniment, sometimes by metric alteration, renewing the harmonic substrate, or modifying the character. The form again conforms to the 'sectio aurea', with the culminating point falling just before a polymetric section (different bar-lengths in the strings and the piano).
The conclusive ‘Lento’ is longer than the two other movements combined. Initially it presents us with a rarefied landscape (harmonic sounds on the strings) – one might suggest the Alentejo plain on a summer afternoon! From it rises an atonal litany in the strings, sad and (in)tense. A more conversational intermediate section precedes the return of the initial atmosphere (with the original material modified) again followed by the 'litany', from there evolving through the acquisition of diatonic reminiscences, on an 'ostinato' of octave G#'s undulating melodically in the piano. An intermediate Coda ('Meno mosso') precedes a “preparation” of the real Coda, with the function of reinstating the soulful rarefaction of the beginning. The Coda (‘Più lento’) is signalled by the reintroduction of harmonic sounds on the strings, until everything fades into silence.