String Trio in C Major, Op.1
Not a great deal of information is available about the Austrian composer Adolf Binder (1845-1901). It is known that he held the position of Director and Conductor of the Philharmonic Society of Marburg on the Drau (present day Maribor in Slovenia), then part of the Habsburg Empire. He mostly wrote works for orchestra and chamber music ensembles.
The respected music critic Eugen Segnitz, writing in the prestigious journal Musikpädagogische Blatter had this to say about Adolf Binder’s String Trio:
“Adolf Binder's String Trio is clearly a cleverly written and worthwhile piece of chamber music, a solid piece of work. There is no padding and not a note too many. The composer unquestionably has the necessary technique for such an undertaking. Of its four movements, it is the Adagio and the Finale, Molto allegro, which make the strongest impression. With this string trio, by means of clear, transparent writing, the composer has created a work that not only sounds extraordinarily fine but also presents no real technical difficulties. As such, it can be strongly recommended."
While The Chamber Music Journal added this review:
“It is always a real pleasure to come across a first rate work by an unknown composer. And Adolf Binder certainly qualifies as unknown. Nothing is to be found in English and only a very few brief lines appear in some scattered German references to the effect that he was an Austrian organist, composer and conductor. His string trio is a real delight for several reasons, not the least of which is the excellent part-writing and appealing themes to be found therein. In four movements, the work begins with a somber and highly effective Adagio introduction in c minor. A long-lined theme played over a pulsing rhythm creates interest and suspense. The first theme of the main section, Allegro molto, is a triumphant melody in C Major, which is then followed by an attractive, lyrical theme first presented by the viola and then the cello. The second movement, Allegro scherzando, is lighter in nature and somewhat playful. The music is a throw back to the early romantic era. A contrasting trio section brings the Adagio introduction back to mind, with its rhythmic accompaniment. The third movement begins with a dirge-like Adagio which is followed by a stormy and dramatic section. The jovial finale, Molto allegro, presents its main theme in canonic fashion. To sum up, each of the instruments is given a fair share of the melodic material and the accompaniment is always interesting. The fact that the work is not particularly difficult makes it even more attractive for trio groups looking for a fresh work from the romantic period.”
We have reprinted the original edition brought out by the Berlin publisher Carl Simon in 1900, the year before Binder's death. Given the opus number and the way the work sounds, it was most likely composed sometime in the 1860's.