Piano Trio No.4 in g minor, Op.95 No.2
Hermann Berens (1826-1880) was born in Hamburg and studied piano and composition in Carl Gottlieb Reissiger who was the music director and chief conductor in Dresden. During this time, Reissiger employed Wagner as his second conductor. Although Berens undoubtedly got to know Wagner well, there is nothing of Wagner in Berens’ music. Rather, Mendelssohn and Schumann served as his models. spent most of his life in Sweden eventually becoming the director of a prominent Stockholm music drama theater and a professor at the Stockholm Conservatory. In addition to his chamber music, he wrote several operas in Swedish and a considerable amount of piano music. Besides the piano, Berens also was proficient on the violin and the trios reveal the hand of an experienced string player.
Berens' Fourth Piano Trio is the second of a set of three which were composed during 1876. These trios were very well received, no doubt, because they are so well-written for each of the instruments and because of the appealing melodies to be found therein. The opening movement, Allegro, with a lilting theme presented by the strings, somewhat sad but full of forward motion and drama. In the middle movement, Andante con moto, the piano and the strings take turns developing the main subject, a simple but lovely melody. The finale, Allegro con fuoco, bursts out of the gate, right from the start. Berens combines a dramatic, driving melody with some catchy and capricious effects, which at times, give the movement the feel of a scherzo.
This trio, along with the two others enjoyed considerable popularity both in concert in on the stands of amateurs right up until the First World War after which they, along with so many other fine pieces from the Romantic era, were cast into oblivion. Long out of print, here is a fresh work which you are sure to enjoy playing.