Phantasie for Violin and Piano in g minor, Op.17
Hans Huber (1852-1921) was born in the Swiss town of Eppenberg. Between 1870-74, he studied at the Leipzig Conservatory with Carl Reinecke and Ernst Richter. After graduating he held a number of positions before being appointed a professor at the Basel Conservatory, where he served as director between 1889-1917. Huber’s music was firmly rooted in the Romantic movement inspired at first by Schumann and Brahms and then later by Liszt and Richard Strauss. He was widely considered Switzerland’s leading composer during the last quarter of the 19th and first decade of the 20th century. He composed in virtually every genre and many of his works were for long years part of various repertoires and the only works by a Swiss composer that were regularly performed outside of Switzerland.
The Phantasie for Violin and Piano dates from 1873 and is a full scale sonata in four movements. Huber prefaces the work with a short verse "The poet measures the span of days / rising from the grave to the starry heights / he sings to men of joy and sorrow / and dreams of a better time." The Phantasie is a powerful and stormy work expressing both joy and sorry, that is for sure. The opening movement marked Vorspiel (Prelude) is in three sections. It begins with a somber, almost funereal theme and is followed by a dramatic Allegro and again the slower theme and a brilliant conclusion. The second movement, Sehr langsam (very slow), begins with a noble chorale-like melody. It is quiet and calm for some time before an agitated episode interrupts this mood. Next comes a highly agitated scherzo, Prestissimo with a finely contrasting and slower trio section. The finale, Allegro con fuoco, starts out in a lighter mood but as it moves along it becomes quite dramatic and powerful.
Long out of print, we are pleased to make it available once again. This a superb work which certainly belongs in the recital hall and should be an attractive addition to the repertoire of both amateurs and professionals.