7 Lieder for Voice and Piano Trio, Op.46 from Heyse's Jungbrunnen
By the time Robert Kahn wrote his Op.46 Seven Lieder for Voice and Piano Trio in 1906, more than half of what he had already composed, some 24 works, were song cycles for voice and piano. The Op.46 differ from those which had come before in that it is the only one for voice and piano trio, a combination for which there are very few works in the literature. The songs are taken from the German lyric poet Paul Heyse's set of poems "Jungbrunnen." (Fountain of Youth) The cycle alternates between female and male voice until finally both take part in the seventh song. The music is in the later romantic style and is fine example of Kahn's mastery of the material and the integration of the instruments with the voice.
Robert Kahn (1865-1951) was born in Mannheim of a well-to-do banking family. He began his studies at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin. There, he got to know and became friends with Joseph Joachim who was the director. It was through both Joachim and his own family that he had a chance to get to know Brahms, who was so impressed with Kahn that he offered to give him composition lessons. However, Kahn was too overawed to accept. Nevertheless, Brahms did help Kahn informally, and while Kahn's work does, to some extent, show the influence of Brahms, he is an eclectic and independent composer whose music has its own originality. After finishing his studies in Berlin, Kahn, on Brahms' suggestion, went to Munich to study with Joseph Rheinberger. After completing his own studies, he worked for a while as a free lance composer before obtaining a position at the Hochschule in Berlin where he eventually became a professor of piano and composition.