Peter Erasmus Lange-Müller
Three Fantasy Pieces for Violin & Piano, Op.39
Peter Erasmus Lange-Müller (1850-1926) generally known as P.E. Lange-Müller was born in the Danish town of Fredriksberg where he studied piano before entering the Royal Danish Conservatory in Copenhagen where he studied with Edmund Neupert. He was founder of one of Denmark's leading concert societies and orchestras, the Koncertforening, which he conducted for several years. Though known for his vocal music, he also wrote symphonies, and a violin concerto besides this trio. His early music showed the influence of Schumann, however, his later works, including this piano trio, not only show the awareness of developments in France but also in Germany. Tonal ambiguity, as for example in the finale, clearly reveals this.
The Three Fantasy Pieces for Violin and Piano were composed in 1891. All three are substantial “mood pictures.” One might almost conclude that they comprise a sonata in disguise because of the deliberate cross references of thematic material between the pieces. The opening movement, Allegro appassionato, ma non troppo allegro, is a dramatic and highly effective exposition with several impressive climaxes. The second movement, Andantino cantabile, is a lovely song without words, with long-lined cantilena melodies. The finale, Allegro con fuoco assai, bursts forth from the opening notes with a forward-driving and thrusting energy. The main theme makes vague reference to the opening melody of the first piece. The development section takes the work into more lyrical and romantic realms but here we hear brief but definite quotes of the opening piece.
This is a first rate work, sure to make a fine impression in the recital hall. An added bonus is that any of the three could be used as very effective encores. We are pleased to reintroduce this music which has been out of print for nearly a century.