Piano Trio No.6 in c minor, Op.50
"Röntgen’s 1904 prize winning Piano Trio in c minor, Op.50 won at the Concours International de Musique in Paris and was dedicated to Carl Nielsen with whom he was quite friendly. Of it, Nielsen wrote to Röntgen, “Your trio is carried along by an extremely individual and compelling musical current, which despite its modern content seems to have its roots in the vicinity of Schubert.” In three movements, the opening Allegro non troppo e serioso begins with a short, dramatic piano introduction which gives way to a very lyrical theme in the strings. The second subject has the character of mystery and shows some influence of Brahms. The very original-sounding main theme to the Andante which follows sounds like Grieg but clearly tinted by German Romanticism. This is not an accident. Röntgen was very fond of Scandinavian folk melody. It is here that we can hear what Nielsen meant by “modern content”. While the opening is very Nordic, the development takes the thematic material into Brahmsian, as well as post-Brahmsian, tonalities. This is a movement of great charm. The finale, Allegro non troppo, begins in a soft but agitated manner before exploding into a rich and dramatic exposition of the melodic material. For the superb coda, Röntgen takes a page from Brahms. It is not hard to see why this work won a prize, although it is hard to understand how it could disappear. It is a masterpiece, should be in the repertoire, hopefully will be republished, and should be explored by professionals and amateurs alike. "---The Chamber Music Journal.
Julius Röntgen (1855-1932) was born in the German city of Leipzig. His father was a violinist and his mother a pianist. He showed musical talent at an early age and was taken to the famed pianist and composer, Carl Reinecke, the director of the Gewandhaus orchestra. Subsequently he studied piano in Munich with Franz Lachner, one of Schubert's closest friends. After a brief stint as a concert pianist, Röntgen moved to Amsterdam and taught piano there, helping to found the Amsterdam Conservatory and the subsequently world famous Concertgebouw Orchestra. He composed throughout his life and especially during his last 10 years after he retired. Though he wrote in most genres, chamber music was his most important area.
This wonderful trio has been out of print for nearly a century and it is high time that chamber music aficionados have the chance to play it. Therefore, we are very pleased to revive it and warmly recommend it to you.