String Trio No.2 in d minor, Op.141b
Wilhelm Altmann, the famous chamber music critic writing in his Chamber Music Handbook, comments "Max Reger has written two string trios that belong to the best of their kind, and every chamber music player ought to make their acquaintance."
Max Reger (1873-1916) was born in the small Bavarian town of Brand. He began his musical studies at a young age and his talent for composition became clear early on. His family expected him to become a school teacher like his father and to this end passed the necessary examinations for certification. However, before he landed his first teaching job, he met the eminent musicologist Hugo Riemann, who was so impressed by Regerís talent that he urged him to devote himself entirely to music. Reger studied with him for nearly five years. By 1907 Reger was appointed to the prestigious position of Professor of composition at the Leipzig Conservatory. In addition to this he was widely regarded as one of the best living conductors and organists.
In a career that only lasted 20 years, Reger wrote a prodigious amount of music in virtually every genre except opera and the symphony. Chamber music figures prominently within his oeuvre. String Trio No.2 was written toward the end of his life in 1915.
The opening Allegro begins with a searching melody. Sadness and a sense of loss pervade this music. A second theme is somewhat brighter in mood. The middle movement, Andante sostenuto, is a theme and set of variations. The theme is, for Reger, particularly sweet and straight forward. The several variations (we present 2 in our sound-bite) show Reger's inventiveness and technical skill. The lively and upbeat theme of the finale, Vivace, harks back to Haydn. Its brilliant presentation is in fugal format. The melancholic second theme makes brief appearance but once before the return of main melody which leads to an exciting finish.
Trio parties, professionals and amateurs alike, should not miss the chance to play and perform this very fine work.