Prince Heinrich XXIV Reuss of Köstritz
Trio for Violin, Viola & Piano in A Major, Op.25
“What can one say about Heinrich Reuss' 1903 Trio in A Major for Violin, Viola and Piano? One could well say it is the Trio that Brahms never got around to writing. One could say it is a first class work, in the very front rank of trios for this rare and under served combination. One could say it is filled with attractive melodies. One could say it presents no undue technical difficulties and can not only be recommended for performance by professional ensembles but also to amateurs looking for a late Romantic era gem. Yes, one could say all of these things and should, but sadly, there is no substitute for either playing or hearing this fine work. The spirit of Brahms hovers over this dark and at times brooding opening movement, Allegro ma non troppo. A lovely, long-lined, singing Molto adagio follows. The third movement Minuetto, allegro energico is no classical minuet, to be sure. In a heavy 3, it too shows a lineage to Brahms. The finale, Rondo, allegro grazioso, is light, bright and playful."---taken from the program notes to a live performance by the eminent chamber music critic and scholar Larius J. Ussi
Prince Heinrich XXIV Reuss of Köstritz (1855-1910), was born in the Prussian town of Trebschen. After initially studying music with his father, who had been a student of Carl Reissiger, he took a law degree. However, subsequently he devoted himself to music, studying composition privately with Heinrich von Herzogenberg who introduced him to Brahms. Although Brahms never formally gave lessons to Reuss, according to the prince he gave the young composer numerous suggestions and considerable help, which as far as Reuss was concerned almost amounted to the same thing. Though not a prolific composer, he did pen six symphonies as well as a considerable amount of chamber music, including five string quartets, two string sextets, three piano trios, a piano quartet and a piano quintet as well as several instrumental sonatas. His style can be an amalgam of Brahms, Herzogenberg and to some extent Dvorak and Mendelssohn. His works were premiered to critical acclaim and were held in high regard for many years before disappearing from the repertoire after the First World War.
As Mr Ussi notes this is a first rate work. It is not technically difficult and yet it so well written that it deserves concert performance but should not be missed by amateurs aw well.