Heinrich von Herzogenberg
Legends for either Viola or Cello and Piano, Op.62
The Austrian composer Heinrich von Herzogenberg (1843-1900) has been unfairly and wrongly attacked as nothing more than a pale imitation of Brahms, of whom he was a great admirer. There is no denying that his music often shows the influence of Brahms, however, listeners and players alike have discovered that it is original and fresh, notwithstanding the influence of Brahms. Most of his chamber is first rate and Brahms might well have wished he had written some of it. Toward the of his life, Brahms, who was not in the habit of praising other composers publicly, wrote of Herzogenberg, whom he had often harshly criticized in the past, “Herzogenberg is able to do more than any of the others."
Herzogenberg composed his Legends--three in number-- in 1890 and from the start intended them for either Viola or Cello. They combine the warmth of the late Romantic movement with, as the title suggests, the mood of the past which one can hear in the decorous minuet-like opening Andantino as well as in the the final Andante with its four variations with its folk-like theme. But it is the middle movement, Moderato, which, perhaps more than the other two, evokes the aura of the past. Here, Herzogenberg places a quote from the final scene of Goethe's Faust before the music.
Out of for the better part of a century, we are very pleased to reintroduce this fine work and believe both violists and cellists will find it a welcome addition to their repertoires.