Heinrich von Herzogenberg
Piano Trio No.1 in c minor, Op.24
"Herzogenberg's chamber music has been written off for too long. One will find many an absolutely first rate work and several masterpieces. So what if he occasionally sounds like Brahms, more often than not he is his own man, full or original ideas, melodies and effects which Johannes would never have thought of. ---from a review in The Chamber Music Journal.
The Austrian composer Heinrich von Herzogenberg (1843-1900) has sometimes been attacked as nothing more than a pale imitation of Brahms, of whom he was a great admirer. There is no denying that his music sometimes 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."
Piano Trio No.1 dates 1876. Although the dark, somewhat brooding notes of the first theme to the huge opening movement, Allegro, given out by the cello seem to establish the mood, the music quickly becomes more dramatic and quite passionate. The second movement, an Andante, is a lovely folk melody and a set of variations. An very original, highly syncopated Scherzo, presto comes next. The finale begins quite softly with a Lento introduction which moves forward with a sense of uncertainty. Then tension builds and gives way to restless and captivating Allegro full of wonderful melodies, one better than the next.
We feel this trio qualifies for the title of masterwork. It unquestionably belongs in the repertoire. Both professionals and amateurs will revel in its beauties.