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Carl Gottlieb Reissiger

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Piano Trio No.15 in G Major, Op.164

"When I think of Reissiger's trios, the words lovely and jewel-like come to mind. These choice and lovely works remind one of a chain of flowers. In these trios, one immediately meets with a pleasing mood and can comfortably count on an enjoyable experience...He is a man of the world whose polished words speak of his travels and of conversations with famous men. His music never fatigues the ear, but holds our attention to the very end."---Robert Schumann

 

Piano Trio No.15 was composed in the late 1830's and published in the early part of the next decade. The lovely main theme movement, Moderato, evokes the ghost of Schubert with its fine melodic writing which effortlessly flows forth like water from a fountain. A hard-driving Scherzo, presto, which does not allow for a momentís breath, comes next. A beautiful, languid trio provides a fine contrast. The trio has no real slow movement as the Andante quasi allegretto, is more of an upbeat march than anything else. The finale, Allegro, has a dramatic melody, pulsing with excitement for its main theme. Once again, the composerís great melodic gift is on display.

 

Carl Gottlieb Reissiger (1798-1859) was born in the Prussian town of Belzig. He originally attended the famous Thomasschule in Leipzig as his father intended him to be a priest, however, his extraordinary musical talent was recognized and he was encouraged to pursue a musical career. His initial studies were with Johann Schlicht, Bach's fifth successor as Cantor of the Thomasschule. Subsequently, he went to Vienna and studied with Salieri. An early opera attracted Carl Maria von Weber's attention and Reissiger went to Dresden, eventually succeeding Weber as Music Director of the Dresden Court Orchestra, a post he held until his death. A leading conductor of German opera, Wagner worked under Reissiger for nearly a decade. Reissiger premiered Wagner's first opera. A prolific composer, as most composers of that time were, he penned works in virtually every genre. His works show the influence of the Viennese masters, in particular Schubert and Beethoven.

 

His piano trios, during his lifetime, were extraordinarily popular, so much so that he composed no less than 25. And his fecundity, made many of his contemporaries jealous and critical. They often would unfairly call him names such as "the poor man's Schubert." However, the public adored his music for its appealing melodies, excitement, and drama. Amateur chamber music players never ceased to enjoy playing his works and professionals performed them in concert often to great success. It is a pity, the jeers of those who could not produce such ingratiating works and who were especially peeved that Reissiger could produce one after another, almost effortlessly, led to his music falling into oblivion. But now, when one of his works is encountered, the invariable reaction is, how could this work have disappeared.

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