Six Fantasy Pieces for Viola & Piano, Op.117
The genre of Fantasy Pieces (Phantasiestücke in German) was more or less pioneered by Robert Schumann in the 1830's. These were generally a set of shorter pieces meant to be performed together. Each, colorful and with a different mood or character. Fuchs' Six Fantasy Pieces for Viola and Piano, Op.117 are among the very best of such works.
Robert Fuchs (1847-1927) was born near the Styrian capital of Graz and attended the University of Vienna Conservatory studying with Otto Dessoff and Joseph Hellmesberger. By 1875, he himself was teaching at the Conservatory, eventually rising to the rank of Professor of Composition. He was one of the most famous and revered teachers of his time. Mahler, Sibelius, Hugo Wolf, Franz Schmidt, Alexander Zemlinsky, Franz Schrecker and Richard Heuberger were among his many students.
Fuchs very much liked this genre and wrote several sets of fantasy pieces for different combinations of instruments. As previously noted, these are among the best. The Six Fantasy Pieces were composed in the last year of Fuchs's life and express the by then lost world of the late Romantic era. They make a charming and excellent selection for a recital.