Schilflieder for Oboe or Violin, Viola & Piano, Op.28
The Schilflieder (Song of the Reeds) were composed in 1872 and were inspired by the poem of the same name by Nikolaus von Lenau (1802-50), whose poetry also inspired the tone poems of Richard Strauss and Franz Liszt. The Schilflieder are 5 fantasy pieces which describe a wander’s day and evening in the forest and by a pond. Each has a different mood. Klughardt quotes the text from each of the five stanzas in each of the five fantasy pieces. The first, Langsam, is a slow dreamy movement. The stanza begins "Over there the sun is setting as weary day sinks into sleep." Next comes Leidenschaftlich (passionately). The corresponding stanza begins, "In the waning light, the clouds are scurrying as the rain begins to heavily fall." Then another slow movement, Zart. "Often on secluded forest paths, in the evening sunset, I walk to the lonely bank of reeds and think of you." The fourth piece, Feurig (con fuoco) describes a summer storm. "Sunset and black clouds are gathering, O how the anxious winds are rustling." The finale, Sehr ruhig, is also quiet, describing the scene after the storm has passed. "Now upon the motionless pond, the moon gently shines, She weaves her pale roses into the reeds’ green wreath."
August Klughardt (1847-1902) was born in the German town of Köthen in Saxon-Anhalt. After studying music locally, Klughardt began to earn his living by conducting. He served in several locales, including Weimar where he worked from 1869 to 1873. There, he met Franz Liszt, which was very important for his creative development. While influenced by Wagner and Liszt, Klughardt did not by any means entirely adopt the ideology of their New German School, refusing to write tone poems and instead concentrating on symphonies and chamber music. The influence of Robert Schumann, and to a lesser extent Brahms, certainly is equally important. It was his failure to whole-heartedly adopt Lisztian principals which led to his being labeled as a conservative composer.
Though originally intended for Oboe, Viola and Piano, Klughardt also envisioned the Violin as an alternative for the Oboe. Rather than writing a separate part, he wrote a part which could be played by either instrument and so noted it on the part. Dedicated to Franz Liszt, the Schilflieder were quite well known during Klughardt’s lifetime and remained in the repertoire well into the 20th century. It is not hard to see why for they are first rate in every aspect and among the best works of the romantic fantasy genre.
Other words for this combination which we also offer include Robert Kahn's Trio Serenade, Hugo Kauder's Trio, Charles Martin Loeffler's Two Rhapsodies, and Adolf Ruthardt's Trio. These make excellent contrasting companion works.