Carl Gottlieb Reissiger
Piano Trio No.7 in E Major, Op.85
"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
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.
Piano Trio No.7 dates from the 1830's. The opening movement, Allegro brillante, opens with a series of attention-getting chords. The first theme is a beautiful Schubertian melody brought forth by the strings. A Beethovian development section follows. The simple, second theme, is clearly a folk dance tune. The cello presents the very vocal and charming first theme to the Andante which follows. When the violin enters, we are reminded of an operatic duet. A Beethovian, pounding Scherzo, full of forward motion, comes next. The finale, a syncopated Allegro molto, is a toe-tapping rondo with Hungarian overtones.
We have reprinted the first edition, adding rehearsal numbers and correcting a few mistakes.