Wanderstimmungen for String Trio
Today it is difficult to find out much about the German composer and musicologist, Oswald Körte (1852-1924). However, his Wanderstimmungen was often played in chamber music circles before the First World War. Wanderstimmungen does not readily translate into English. The Germans have long had the tradition of wandering or hiking about on foot with no particular destination. Perhaps a wanderer's impressions or moods comes closest. The famous chamber music critic Wilhelm Altmann, writing in his Chamber Music Handbook has this to say about it:
“Oswald Körte's string trio, which he titled "Wanderstimmungen" was published in 1904. It makes no great pretensions for a place in the concert hall, but rather was intended for music making at home. It consists of five pieces. The first is entitled "Frisch Hinaus" (Happy to set out), the second is "Wechselnd Leid und Lust" (Sorrow and Joy), the third is entitled"Idylle, the fourth, which is particularly beautiful, he titled Rauher Weg and Sehnsucht" (The rough path & longing for home). The finale "Glücklicher Heimweg" (Homeward bound and happy) in which the viola is given a long and important cadenza."
This is a lovely work in the grand 19th century German tradition of wanderer's mood music, of which Schumann's is perhaps the best known. Although many of the melodies begin quite simply, Körte surprises by his unusual tonalities and harmonic twists. Out of print for nearly a century, string trio groups looking for a lighter work will find much to their taste here.