Piano Trio No.3 in g minor, Op.16
Reber's Piano Trio No.3 in g minor dates from 1862 and represents his mature style and provides a sound picture of the style appreciated during the Second Empire. The music is clearly of the mid-romantic era, but with its roots traceable to the late 18th century. Hence one can hear echoes of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Mendelssohn, while at the same the influence of such contemporaries as Berlioz with its typical use of French coloration. While the piano writing often takes into account that such performers as Chopin, Liszt, Moscheles and other great pianists frequently were the performers of his trios, the part-writing is entirely balanced and the piano is never allowed to dominate but remains an equal partner. The opening movement is a powerful and turbulent Allegro, quite riveting. The middle movement, Adagio cantabile, is a delicate, lovely song without words with a turbulent middle section for contrast. The finale, also an Allegro, is a fleet and exciting dance. This trio gained great popularity and for many years was part of the standard repertoire and help to make Reber's reputation. It is an excellent work deserving performance and in no way beyond amateurs with a good pianist.
Napolťon-Henri Reber (1807-1880), was no doubt given his first name as the year of his birth coincided with the time when Bonaparte was at the height of his power and popularity. But the composer, who was born in the Alsatian town of Mulhouse, for most of his life went by Henri Reber. He studied composition with Anton Reicha at the Paris Conservatory and thereafter pursued a career with considerable success as a composer, eventually becoming a Professor of Composition at the Paris Conservatory and a member of Academie Francaise. Among his many students number Benjamin Godard, Jules Massenet, Pablo de Sarasate, and Wladislav Zelinski. He composed in virtually all genres, including ballet, opera, symphonies and chamber music. His chamber works include a string quartet, a string quintet and seven piano trios. Reberís music unquestably influenced the young Saint-SaŽns and Faurť.
Out of print for well over a century, this fine mid-romantic era French piano trio certainly deserves to be heard in concert but will also give pleasure to amateurs players. We have reprinted the original and only edition correcting errors and adding rehearsal letters.